CNN) An extinct species of wolf, which served as inspiration for a mythical creature in the popular television show “Game of Thrones,” had little in common with the gray wolves that roam North America today, new research has found. Known as Canis dirus, meaning “fearsome dog,” it had been thought that dire wolves were simply a beefier version of the gray wolf. […] We shared our meat with wolves and they became our best friends “The going narrative has been that gray and dire wolves were very closely related, like sister or cousin lineages, or perhaps the same animal,” lead study author Angela Perri, an archaeologist at Durham University in the United Kingdom, told CNN via email. […] Fossils in La Brea Tar Pits reveal why coyotes still exist, but not saber-toothed cats Dire wolves overlapped with coyotes and gray wolves in North America for some 10,000 years before their extinction — but still, there is no evidence that they interbred with these species. […] Preserving the unique history of the La Brea Tar Pits “On average dire wolves are roughly 20% larger than the average gray wolf today. It also appears that they were adapted to living in low land warm environments, so we envision them being much more like warm climate canids — shorter fur, perhaps reddish, with large ears for thermoregulation,” Perri said.
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