YBP to the end of the Last Glacial Maximum was cooler and with a more balanced supply of moisture than today.
The species was named in 1858, four years after the first specimen had been found.The sites range in elevation from sea level to 2,255 m (7,400 ft).Dire wolf fossils have rarely been found north of 42°N latitude, with five unconfirmed reports above this latitude.Its reliance on megaherbivores has been proposed as the cause of its extinction, along with climate change and competition with other species, but the cause remains controversial.The latest dire wolf remains have been dated to 9,440 years ago.
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From the 1850s, the fossil remains of extinct large wolves were being found in the United States, and it was not immediately clear that these all belonged to one species.The first specimen of what would later become associated with Canis dirus was found in the summer of 1854 in the bed of the Ohio River near Evansville, Indiana.As with other large Canis hypercarnivores today, the dire wolf is thought to have been a pack hunter.Its extinction occurred during the Quaternary extinction event along with its main prey species.Two subspecies are recognized, these being Canis dirus guildayi and Canis dirus dirus.
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The species probably descended from Armbruster's wolf (Canis armbrusteri) and evolved from it in North America.
C.lupus, but its teeth were larger with greater shearing ability and its bite force at the canine tooth was the strongest of any known Canis species.
These characteristics are thought to be adaptations for preying on Late Pleistocene megaherbivores, and in North America its prey are known to have included horses, sloths, mastodons, bison, and camels.
Both extinction and speciation – a process by which a new species splits from an older one – could occur together during periods of climatic extremes.dirus discovered at four sites in the Hay Springs area of Sheridan County, Nebraska, were named Aenocyon dirus nebrascensis (Frick 1930, undescribed), but Frick did not publish a description of them. In 2014 an attempt to extract DNA from a Columbian mammoth from the tar pits also failed, with the study concluding that organic compounds from the asphalt permeate the bones of all ancient samples from the La The dire wolf had smaller feet and a larger head when compared with a northern wolf of the same body size.
The skull length could reach up to 310 mm (12 in) or longer, with a broader palate, frontal region, and zygomatic arches compared with the Yukon wolf. Its sagittal crest was higher, with the inion showing a significant backward projection, and with the rear ends of the nasal bones extending relatively far back into the skull.