Acclaimed Western historian Dan Flores will discuss his latest book, Coyote America: A Natural and Supernatural History, at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday (July 6) in the Arizona Senior Academy’s Great Room.
Canis latrans (“barking canine”) has always been one of the Southwest’s nearest non-human neighbors, but Flores argues that the coyote is also more human than we might realize, and will explain why.
From Old Man Coyote in Native American folklore to the hapless Wile E. Coyote in the roadrunner cartoons, the coyote has served as an avatar of the American experience for thousands of years
Flores will trace the coyote’s history from the evolution of the canid family 5 million years ago to its remarkable survival as a “niche species” following the virtual elimination of the gray wolf in the 20th century.
Despite a campaign of “species cleansing” dating to the mid-19th century that has employed poisons, gases, bacterial agents, and shootings, the coyote has not only survived but flourished due to a unique set of biological traits that Flores explores in his book (Basic Books, 2016). Its resilience and adaptability have allowed it to become ubiquitous in every state but Hawaii, inhabiting countryside and city alike. Currently an estimated 5,000 coyotes live in the city of Los Angeles alone.
Flores is the A. B. Hammond Professor Emeritus at the University of Montana and the author of ten books on a wide range of subjects in the cultural and environmental history of the American West, for which he has received numerous awards and prizes. He taught at Texas Tech University from 1978-92 and the University of Montana from 1992 until his retirement in 2014.
Books will be available for purchase and signing after the program.
Written by Fred Skinner, Academy Village Volunteer