Brandon Minster, Broadside Correspondent

Wolves are getting randy for coyotes at an alarmingly ever-increasing pace, and we have evolution to blame.

For readers unfamiliar with these animals, I’ll remind you that wolves are the direct ancestors of chihuahuas, and coyotes are used by cowboys as a pronunciation test of the claims to authenticity of other cowboys, much like English merchants making a suspected Dutch say “bread and cheese” in the Rising of 1381.

A fellow might be practically indistinguishable from the Village People cowboy, but if he says “coyote” with anything more than two syllables, he’s a good-for-nothing city slicker, bent on fencing the last free range of the West.

As it turns out, the coyote is more useful than any of us suspected. In a pinch, it can serve as the nightcap of a wolf’s Saturday night. According to Jennifer Viegas of Discovery News, wolves are getting their interspecies freak on (paraphrasing) and the result is something called a coywolf.

Like any good modern American, I have two questions. Firstly, who is responsible? Secondly, is that responsibility fiduciary in nature, or can I at least convince a Mississippi jury that it is?

Roland Kays of the New York State Museum lays the blame on Charles Darwin. “This is an evolutionary mechanism to generate new variation that can work faster than genetic mutation,” Kays said.

Of course, I’m the product of a public school, but I seem to remember that evolution is non-sentient. Now I come to find out that not only can evolution pick faster methods, it’s also a little kinky. Dave the Wolf is walking along in the forest, contemplating the infinite, and he sees a lady coyote. His natural reaction might be to kill the coyote, but now evolution steps in and says, “I can’t let you do that, Dave.” Instead, Dave gets hot for his new lady friend and if you want to know the rest, ask your parents.

Before the advent of television lowered evolution’s attention span, here’s how it used to work. Of all the slightly different coyotes, some might be more suited to fill the hole left by a thinning wolf population. These would flourish and be more likely to pass along the genetic traits that helped them succeed. Eventually, these super coyotes have cornered the means of production and lord it over their standard coyote brethren, who gnash their teeth and foment revolution. The circle of life.

That might have worked before, but now evolution has a plane to catch. Instead of the thinned wolves prospering from a lack of competition, they are saving everyone some time by going against their nature and wooing coyotes. Perhaps coyotes are incredibly easy lays. It’s hard to say; all that fur around their tails makes it difficult to spot lower back tattoos.

Using sex as a weapon of conquest has a long history – from Pat Benatar’s “Love is a Battlefield” to Jose Luis Marques’ profanely-titled movie about reconquering the Falkland Islands by Argentines impregnating the British women. Before these two instances, though, I don’t think it ever occurred, which raises the question: who is letting wolves listen to Pat Benatar and watch avant-garde minimalist cinema?

Now that I know evolution can be sped up, I’m looking to do a little cross-species hanky-panky myself. Trying to teach kids can be a long, thankless task, and often the end result isn’t even what was desired. So I’m going to use hybridization to run an end-around on evolution. I’ve got a hot date this weekend with an encyclopedia.