Eastern coyotes have posed a puzzle to taxonomists. Are they true coyotes or eastern wolves? In fact, a 2010 study found that they contain mitochondrial DNA from both. The study's authors suggested that the animals be called coywolves to reflect their hybrid heritage.
Ironically, these hybrids may be replacing a previous wolf/coyote hybrid species that European colonists nearly eradicated as they pushed west. The red wolf may have started as a hybrid of coyotes and wolves, then diverged as a separate species that roamed most of the southeastern United States. By the 1970s, the red wolf was essentially extinct in its former range. Now, captive breeding programs keep the species alive.
Although the red wolf is gone, the expanding population of coywolves may mean that a hybrid canid re-evolved to once again roam eastern North America.