When Wolverine made his first appearance in comics, he was pitted against The Incredible Hulk. This new player was a small but ferocious opponent that made a great foil for the lumbering green giant. It seemed to make sense that this stocky brawler was named Wolverine, since he had similar characteristics to the native Canadian animal. But there's another name that makes way more sense.
According to a strong argument by The Insidious Dr. Grey Matter over on Tumblr, the adamantium-laced mutant known as Wolverine really has a lot more in common with the lynx (right) than an actual wolverine (left).
The evidence supplied is actually quite ample and convicing. Let's start with the purely visual:
Not long after the first appearance of Wolverine (sometimes referred to as Logan), his look evolved into what you see above. Both with and without a mask, Logan's head comes to a point on either side. Logan's "ears" strongly resemble the ears of a lynx, down to the tufts on each end.
If you think that's disputable, just wait 'til we get to the facial hair.
The lynx has built-in mutton chops, just like Logan. There aren't that many humans who still rock that look, and even fewer animals can be found in nature that are brave enough to rock the controversial sideburns/beard hybrid.
Compare the look of the lynx to that of the animal wolverine, which bears no physical resemblance to the superhero Wolverine.
As mentioned earlier, Wolverine got his name in part because he's a scrappy little dude. Though Hugh Jackman towers over six feet tall, the comics Wolverine has always been on the short side, clocking in at a meager 5'3 according to the official Marvel website. There's a reason that mutant rival Sabretooth refers to Logan as "runt" every chance he gets.
Thing is, the animal wolverine belongs to the mustelids family in the animal kingdom. Compared to its weasel, otter and badger brethren, the wolverine is actually one of the biggest in the pack.
Compare that position to that of the lynx, whose size pales in comparison to the non-domesticated members of the Felida family. Next to the lion, tiger and the cougar, the lynx is the real "runt" here.
Speaking in broader terms, the lynx fits much more snugly in the "small but ferocious" descriptor than the mega-weasel that is the wolverine.
And then, of course, there's the retractable claws.
Like most members of the Felidae family (including your housecat Mr. Kibbles), the lynx has a set of retractable claws. During the winter, the lynx keeps its claws inside so that it can use its huge adorable paws like snowshoes. But when the shit goes down, you can be sure that the lynx isn't afraid to pop those claws.
Of course, the animal wolverine does not have retractable claws. They're just always hanging out there, no matter the social situation. It's really quite embarrassing; we're thinking of writing an anonymous letter.
What do you think? Should Wolverine really be called The Lynx? Or should we leave that name with the obscure DC Comics character you've probably never heard of?