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Fun Fact of the Week: A new study revealed that “Dire Wolves” weren’t actually wolves at all and belonged to their own genus known as “Aenocyon Dirus” rather than “Canis Dirus.”

art by Mauricio Anton

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Canis dirus

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Countries:
Arizona, Bolivia, California, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Missouri, Mexico, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Peru, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Venezuela, Virginia, West Virginia, Wyoming

Interesting facts:
🔔 It became extinct about 9,500 years ago.

🔔 It is the largest species of the genus Canis known to have existed, it is estimated to have weighed about 60 kg (130 lb).

🔔 The bite force (in newtons/kilogram) was greatest in the dire wolf (163), followed among the modern canids by the African hunting dog (142), the grey wolf (136), the dhole (112), and the dingo (108).

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Dire wolf Canis dirus, National Museum of Natural History, Paris, France

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Dire wolf / CAS-G 61485

Scientific nameCanis dirus
Age: Pleistocene
Locality: California, USA, North America
Department: Invertebrate Zoology & Geology, image © California Academy of Sciences

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Dire wolves were actually real and not made up for Dungeons and Dragons or whatever.

ID: a large and sturdy canine seen in profile standing and snarling against a plain white background.

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Under the scorching Sun of pleistocene Mexico, a lonesome Dire wolf strolls the arid landscape, looking for prey. A Teratorn, flying overhead, may point to some carrion, so it is worth to follow.

Dire wolves made their home in some pretty hot environments, as their range streched alk the way from the continental US to Bolivia. Even back then, the climate was pretty warm and dry due to the icecaps, so Dire wolves probably had a relatively slender build, with big ears and short, sparse hair.

Combine this with the fact that it was both larger and more heavily muscled than wolves today, it was an adaptable and formidable hunter.

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The Dire Wolf was larger, more robust, and undoubtedly slower than the modern day grey wolf.

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