In the course of their research, scientists from the University of Durham have established the possible cause of the extinction of dire wolves (Canis dirus) that lived in North America during the Pleistocene.
It turned out that, unlike ordinary wolves and coyotes, which can interbreed with each other and with dogs, dire wolves did not do this, thereby significantly limiting their gene pool. In addition, scientists believe that these animals were unable to quickly switch to other types of food and could die due to lack of food, according to a study published in the journal Nature.
In addition, scientists have found that these ancient predators were not related to modern wolves. A team of specialists led by Angela Perry examined the remains of 46 dire wolves, in five of which they found preserved ancient DNA. Moreover, these large predators, which were the prototypes of the direwolves from the TV series « Game of Thrones, » are not related to the entire evolutionary line, which includes wolves, domestic dogs, coyotes and African golden wolves.