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Two gray wolves (bottom left) confront before Jan.000 years ago, a pack of terrible wolves over a bison carcass in southwest North America (illustration by Mauricio Anton / UCLA)

An extinct species of wolf that inspired a mythical creature on the popular TV show “Game of Thrones” had little to do with the gray wolves that roam North America today

Known as Canis dirus, which means “fearsome dog,” it was believed that terrible wolves were simply a beefier version of the gray wolf, but a new study published in Nature has shown how different they really were >

The prehistoric carnivores roamed North America until around 13th centuries agoExtinct 000 years ago Mirkwolf fossils are among the most commonly found in the La Brea tar pits in Los Angeles

“The story goes that gray and bad wolves were very closely related, like sister or cousin lines or maybe the same animal,” senior study author Angela Perri, archaeologist at Durham University in the UK, told CNN via email

“We were pretty happy with that assessment for 150 years as it suggested the similarities in their skeletons. Now genetics has shown they are only very distantly related and separated about 6 million years ago,” Perri added / p>

For the first time, experts sequenced DNA from five terrifying wolf fossils found in Wyoming, Idaho, Ohio and Tennessee They were found to be from over 50000 years

The analysis found that, unlike many canine species that appear to have migrated between North America and Eurasia over time, terrible wolves evolved exclusively in North America for millions of years

The strong deviation of the animals from gray wolves, researchers believe, assigns them to a completely different genus

“This is surprising because we thought they were closely related for so long. Their skeletons and teeth are very similar – it is clearly a convergent evolution,” said Perri. “We also learned that they are so genetically strong differ in that there is no evidence that they can crossbreed and produce offspring, “she added,

Dire wolves overlapped about 10 in North AmericaWith coyotes and gray wolves for 000 years before they became extinct – however, there is no evidence that they mixed with these species

Because of their evolutionary differences, the terrible wolves were ill-equipped to adapt to the changing conditions at the end of the Ice Age, experts believe

The animals were also very different from their glamorous TV counterparts, unlike real terrible wolves, the mythical “direwolves” depicted in “Game of Thrones” were shown to be the size of small horses and associated with the coldest environments in Westeros On the show, a litter of six Direwolf pups were adopted by the Stark children, whose house seal is that of a Direwolf

“On average, bad wolves are about 20% larger than the average gray wolf today. It also appears that they have been adapted for living in warm lowland environments, so we imagine they are much more like canids with warm climates – shorter fur, maybe reddish, with big ears for thermoregulation, “Perri said

“Very different from the huge, furry gray animals depicted in the frozen settings of Game of Thrones,” she added,

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Dire Wolves

World News – CA – Dire Wolves were real, but they didn’t look very much like the ‘Game of Thrones’ creatures

Source: https://www.ctvnews.ca/climate-and-environment/dire-wolves-were-real-but-they-didn-t-look-much-like-the-game-of-thrones-creatures-1.5266398