13 Interesting Facts About Dire Wolf

Fact: Dire wolf bite was 130% stronger than the bite of today’s wolf allowed it to kill much larger and stronger prey.

Fact: Dire wolf was not much bigger than the modern gray wolf. Its legs were slightly shorter and its teeth were slightly larger.

Fact: The subject of the controversy is whether dire wolf originated from North or South America. Most palaeontologists are inclined to North American origin for three reasons: first, more potential ancestors from Middle Pleistocene are present in North America; second, its spread is much higher in North America, with 136 locations versus only three locations in South America; and the third, dire wolf appears in the fossil records earlier in the North than in South America.

Fact: Up to three to five million years ago, this wolves had settled in Africa (early Pliocene) and South America (late pliocen). Their invasion of South America as part of a large American animal exchange allowed the formation of the Panamanian strain 3 million years ago.

Fact: There are two subspecies of dire wolf that inhabited today’s US territory. Canis dirus guildayi was smaller and lived west of the Rocky Mountains, and  C. dirus dirus was larger and inhabited the area east of the Rocky Mountains.

dire wolfFact: Although it was closely related to gray wolf and other wolf species, dire wolf is not the ancestor of any of today’s species. Unlike the gray wolf, which is of Eurasian origin, the dire wolf has evolved on the North American continent, along with the coyote.

Fact: Dire wolf had an average length of about 1.5 meters and weighed between 50 and 79 kg, making it the largest species in the genus Canis. It is estimated to have been about 8% lower in the shoulders of today’s wolf from the Mackenzie Valley and the same height as the typical gray wolf, but more muscular and longer body shape.

Fact: The largest today’s gray wolves would be similar in size to the average wolf; the biggest dire wolves would be considerably larger than any of today’s gray wolves. It was calculated that dire wolf weighed 25% more than today’s gray wolves. It made them considerably slower and sluggish than todays wolves, and this may be one of the reasons why they have been extinct.

Fact: Its brain was smaller than the brain of gray wolf of a similar size, which means they were less intelligent than today’s dogs and wolves.

Fact: Dire wolf is well-known for the unusually high incidence that occurs in the La Brea pits in California. More than 200,000 fragments of over 4000 individuals were found, more than any other mammalian species. Such a large number indicates that dire wolves, like today’s wolves and dogs, lived in the packs.

Fact: Given the large number of remains in the La Brea pits, it is possible that local wolves used the animals trapped in pits as a source of food, some of which eventually were captured in the same, and their remains were then preserved.

Fact: Dire Wolf Project is committed to bringing back the look of the extinct prehistoric Dire Wolf in a gentle companion dog. The Dire Wolf Project was first developed by Lois Denny in 1987. The first litter between a purebred Alaskan Malamute (Buddy) and a purebred German Shepherd Dog (Swanny) was whelped on February 4, 1988 in Oxnard, California. After several years of breeding these American Alsatian / mastiffs mixed dogs and choosing only the quietest and boldest dogs in the litter. At present, each dog when bred begets itself in conformation, the Dire Wolf look is not complete. Because Lois concentrated on the health and the mellow, calm, non-barking temperament before looks, the breed’s conformation is still under development.

Fact: Game of Thrones, one of the most watched TV series in recent years has brought completely unexpected popularity to dire wolves. Fans of GoT are largely dedicated to the Stark family, whose trademark is dire wolf. The heroes who played the wolves of Stark were the Northern Inuit Dogs, created at the end of the 20th century, crossing Malamutes, Siberian Husky and German shepherds.

Read also 7 Unusual Facts About Wolves

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