Dire Wolf

Dire Wolf Scientific Classification
Dire Wolf Physical Characteristics
Dire Wolf Distribition

Summary & & Dimension

Aenocyon dirus, the dire wolf, was a large predator throughout the Late Pleistocene and Very early Holocene dates. This indicates they lived at some point in between 125,000 and 9,500 years back. Although they evaluated approximately 200lbs., these about the grey wolf (Canis lupus) had to do with 25% bigger than the most significant modern-day wolf species. Actually, they came up to 39 inches at the shoulder and 69 inches in size. There go to the very least 2 subspecies for Aenocyon dirus, Aenocyon dirus guildayi and Aenocyon dirus dirus

Dimensions of the dire wolf consist of:

  • Weight: 150 pounds to 200 pounds
  • Shoulder elevation: 39 inches
  • Body size: 69 inches
  • 25% bigger than modern-day- day grey wolves

It is very important to understand that these large wolves were as soon as identified in the genus Canis. Because that time, researchers have actually had the ability to series the dire wolf’s DNA from fossils uncovered in The United States and Canada. This sequencing reveals that these animals are genetically distinct when contrasted to participants of the genus Canis. The huge ancient wolves might have looked just like grey wolves, however they might not have actually interbred with them or various other participants of that genus. Consequently, researchers have actually currently reclassified the dire wolf right into its very own genus, Aenocyon. Aenocyon originates from the Latin words ainos, implying “awful,” and cyon, implying “dog.” Dirus is from the Latin term for “threatening.”

5 Amazing Realities Concerning Dire Wolves

  • Today’s grey wolf (Canis lupus) is a close family member of the extinct dire wolf
  • Hundreds of dire wolf and sabretooth tiger fossils were located In the very same environment fossilized in the La Brea Tar Pits of Los Angeles
  • Like modern-day- day dogs and cats, these wolves were active- predators, implying their diet included a minimum of 70% meat
  • These wolves were 25% larger than today’s biggest grey wolves, considering approximately 200 extra pounds
  • Regardless of this animal going extinct at the end of the last Glacial epoch, researchers think they have sufficient of the wolf’s DNA to bring it back to life someday

Diet– What Did the Dire Wolf Eat?

This wolf was a hyper- predator, similar to modern-day cats and dogs. This indicates these ancient animals took pleasure in a diet of a minimum of 70% meat. Their target consisted of horses and pronghorn deer. They would certainly likewise occasionally eat sloths, mastodon, wooly rhinoceros, bison and camel. As food came to be limited and the dire wolf species had a hard time to locate target, they would certainly eat almost any kind of herbivore they might locate. At the end of their age, the dire wolf remained in competitors with humans, grey wolves and various other predators for the very same target.

Dire wolves had to do with 25% larger than the most significant modern-day grey wolf. At the very same time, these bigger ancient wolves likewise had a much bigger head with 29% even more attacking power than today’s wolves. On the whole, their teeth were sharper and much better at cutting right into meat. However the canine teeth were a lot more rounded, allowing them to squash bone and even more conveniently feed upon nutrient- loaded marrow from their target. Dire wolves pursued target varying from 600lbs. to greater than 1,300 pounds. They might remove target greater than 6 times their body weight.

Researchers think the wolves pursued in packs, just like today’s grey wolves. They pertained to this final thought due to the fact that hundreds of the species were fossilized in the La Brea Tar Pits of Los Angeles. There, all-natural chroniclers located proof of the wolves collaborating for searching. They remained in straight competitors with various other savage species like sabretooth tigers and American lions.

Environment– When and Where the Dire Wolf Lived

The dire wolf had the ability to reside in a vast array of environments and ecological problems throughout The United States and Canada, South America and eastern Asia. They lived in between 125,000 and 9,500 years back throughout the Late Pleistocene and Very early Holocene dates. They came to be extinct at some point after the last Glacial epoch. The animal’s recommended environments appeared and meadows in The United States and Canada. In South America, they stayed in the dry savannah.

united state states where dire wolves lived consist of:

  • Arizona
  • The Golden State
  • Florida
  • Idaho
  • Indiana
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Missouri
  • Nebraska
  • New Mexico
  • Nevada
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania
  • South Carolina
  • South Dakota
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • Virginia
  • West Virginia
  • Wyoming

Dangers And Predators

Dire wolves prevailed pinnaclepredators This indicates they did not have all-natural predators of their very own, like the modern-day- day grizzly bear. However they completed for food with sabretooth tigers and, towards completion of their presence, humans.

The most significant hazard to dire wolves was competitors for food and the ultimate deficiency of target. In time, humans progressed seekers and were even more effective in removing huge herbivores that the dire wolf fed on. Dire wolf fossils in La Brea tar pits of Los Angeles were located together with sabretooth tigers, leading researchers to suppose competitors for food was a large concern in between these 2 species of predators and others like them. This is made more obvious by modifications in the teeth of fossils from 15,000 to 12,000 years back. Right now, the dire wolf began experiencing a lot more often damaged teeth as a result of raised bone marrow in its diet. The even more typical gnawing on bones shows they required to function more difficult for their nutrition.

Discoveries and Fossils– Where It Was Found

Hundreds of fossilized dire wolf samplings have actually been located in The United States and Canada, Mexico, South America and also China. The La Brea Tar Matches in midtown Los Angeles is one especially fossil- abundant website for these ancient pooches. This website and others like it suggest the animals lived mainly in open bogs where they had accessibility to huge herbivores as target. Couple of fossilized remains have actually been located past north The golden state’s latitude of 42 ° N, although there is proof that the wolves ventured right into and also stayed in southerly Canada.

Termination– When Did It Pass away Out?

The dire wolf came to be extinct at the very same time as lots of various other species, throughout the Quaternary termination occasion of 13,000 BCE to 8,000 BCE. The last ancient wolf is thought to have actually gone away at some point around 9,500 years back.

The movement of humans and raised competitors for food are thought to be 2 significant reasons for this termination. Humans preyed upon the very same herbivores as the wolves and came to be significantly much better at searching, making it harder for the dire wolf to locate adequate food. Throughout this very same time, regarding 90 various other sorts of huge animals considering over 97 pounds. came to be extinct.

Similar Animals to the Dire Wolf

Similar animals to the dire wolf consist of:

  • Sabretooth tiger– One more pinnacle killer, the sabretooth tiger usually took on the dire wolf for food
  • African jackal– This predator shared DNA with the dire wolf and lived from 5.1 million years ago with modern
  • Pleistocene wolf– With its family tree of grey wolves still flourishing today, the ancient grey wolf and dire wolf shared similar skeletal framework


  1. The New York Times, Available here: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/13/science/dire-wolf-genome.html
  2. Dire Wolf Project, Available here: https://direwolfproject.com/dire-wolf/dire-wolf-appearance/
  3. Illinois State Museum, Available here: http://iceage.museum.state.il.us/mammals/dire-wolf-0
  4. Thought Co., Available here: https://www.thoughtco.com/facts-about-the-dire-wolf-1093336
  5. Indiana University, Available here: https://igws.indiana.edu/FossilsAndTime/DireWolf
  6. Scientific American, Available here: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/dire-wolves-were-not-really-wolves-new-genetic-clues-reveal/
  7. The Conservation, Available here: https://theconversation.com/dire-wolves-went-extinct-13-000-years-ago-but-thanks-to-new-genetic-analysis-their-true-story-can-now-be-told-153223
  8. Wikipedia, Available here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dire_wolf
  9. Britannica, Available here: https://www.britannica.com/animal/dire-wolf
  10. National Park Services, Available here: https://www.nps.gov/articles/000/dire-wolf.htm
  11. National Park Services, Available here: https://www.nps.gov/whsa/learn/nature/dire-wolves.htm
  12. Science, Available here: https://www.science.org/content/article/legendary-dire-wolf-may-not-have-been-wolf-all
  13. Nature, Available here: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-020-03082-x
  14. National Geographic, Available here: https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/article/dire-wolf-dna-study-reveals-surprises
  15. San Diego Natural History Museum, Available here: https://www.sdnhm.org/exhibitions/fossil-mysteries/fossil-field-guide-a-z/dire-wolf/

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