Although most people might recognize the fearsome wolf from the many scene thieves in Game of thronesThey didn’t come directly from George RR Martin’s thinking, in fact, scientists have known long extinct species since the mid-19th century.
Until recently, it was widely believed that the terrible wolf (Dimmed dog) It’s basically a more muscular relative of the gray wolf (Canis lupusPartly because their skeletons look very similar. But a new study published in nature Point out that both species share much less than their appearance.
It all started when archaeologist Angela Perri from Durham University in the UK set out across North America searching for fearsome wolf fossils from the museum̵7;s collection and to see if she was able to extract DNA from them. Her efforts were successful: As National Geographic Perri and her collaborators were able to sequence genomes from five wolf fossils from Idaho, Ohio, Tennessee and Wyoming. The corpse dates from 50,000 years ago to about 13,000 years ago (at the time of the Holocaust wolves died).
After comparing the horrific wolf sequence with gray wolves and other dog breeds, the researchers found that fearful wolves and gray wolves were genetically different from their common ancestors about 5.7 million years ago, for example. American science Describing their morphological similarity, it appears to be an example of convergent evolution. In other words, they develop similar traits because their lifestyles are similar, not because their DNA is similar.
Based on these findings, it is possible that the formidable wolf took millions of years to develop in America, far from the Eurasian gray wolf. In this case, it could be the eventual migration of other species – even humans – that wolves wolves into extinction.
“The question now becomes: Is their extinction related to climate change and the environment? Humans and wolves and other dogs, and [diseases] Come and help push them away? ”Perri said. National Geographic.
The study may affect the scientific classification of fearful wolves. With a weaker genetic link with Canis Its genus may have to be converted to its own currency But even if it happened But there’s a good chance we’ll still call them “Fearful wolves” in casual conversations like we do with koalas, electric eels, and other misleading monsters.
[h/t Scientific American]