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Dire wolves aren’t wolves at all—they form a distinct lineage with jackals – Ars Technica

The extinct canids had been isolated from wolves for 3 million years.

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Dire wolves had a burst of newfound fame with their appearance in Game of Thrones, where they were portrayed as a far larger version of more mundane wolves. Here in the real world, only the largest populations of present-day wolves get as large as the dire wolf, which weighed nearly 70 kilograms. These animals once shared North Americaand likely preywith predators like the smilodon, a saber-toothed cat. Prior to the arrival of humans, dire wolves were far more common…

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