Scientists Confirmed the Previous Existence of “Giant Wolves”” on our planet, huge predators that roamed in the Pleistocene of North and South America.
A specimen of one of these wolves was found in Medicine HatCanada, but had never been fully described, but research into the specimen’s dentition led researchers to believe the bone belongs to a large wolf, according to a paper published in the Journal of Quaternary Science.
The geographical environment of the Pleistocene in America, is the Pleistocene epoch marked by five or more main glacial periods, during which the ice of the polar cap that covered the North Pole advanced towards the south, reaching areas as southern as Germany and England, North Asia and Canada.
The giant wolf specimen is believed to be between 25,000 and 50,000 years old. and consists of only one jaw bone, including some teeth, labeled ROMVP 71618.
Found by Hope Johnson in 1969, the specimen was one of more than 1,200 vertebrate fossils collected near the town of Medicine Hat in southeastern Alberta.
“It had never been fully described”, told The Canadian Press evolutionary biologist Ashley Reynolds, the paper’s lead author. “This has never been done for this specimen.”
One of the other fossils found in this area belongs to a saber-toothed cat. (Smilodon fatalis). This lends strength to the idea that the jaw bone belongs to a dire wolf, as the two species were known to have overlapping range.
The range of the direwolf is thought to be larger than previously estimated, as recent fossils were found in northern China, with the suggestion of an ice-free corridor that would have passed through the Alberta region, connecting thus North America with Asia and allowing the migration of wolves.
This specimen was also found about 311 miles north of a previously described Wyoming specimen, making it the northernmost point for this species.
The team made anatomical comparisons between the presumed direwolf jaw bone known as ROMVP 71618 and a direwolf bone from California, as well as one from Peru and those from gray wolves.
The team found that it was much larger than the expected length of the gray wolf’s jaw.
They suggest that the individual direwolf in the sample was an older individual, as the teeth within the jaw are badly worn.
The investigation finds that the jaw bone belongs to a giant wolf, representing the only confirmed record of the species in Canada.
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