Game of Thrones dire wolves were real but died out 13,000 years ago
The famous dire wolves in the hugely successful box set series, Game of Thrones, look incredibly impressive and quite frightening. They were fearsome super-sized wolves and the scientists have decided that they truly existed over 13,000 years ago. At the time they would have been one of the most feared carnivores in the Americas (North and South America).
For a long time the scientist believed that they were very similar both physically and genetically to present-day wolves. They even thought that they might have been the same species. But a recent paper published in the journal Nature states that the two were so genetically distinct that they were even unable to mate to produce offspring. You might know that current wolves can breed with domestic dogs. That's why there is quite a popular domestic dog breed which is a hybrid of the wolf and domestic dog; the wolfdog.
The researchers have decided that dire wolves belong to an entirely different genus (a taxonomic classification): Aenocyon dirus. It is Latin for "terrible wolf". Dr Perri, one of the researchers, said that the depiction in the series Game of Thrones was very accurate. He said that, "It's a giant wolf-like animal". The only difference is that in the Game of Thrones they lived in a frozen tundra whereas in real life they would have lived in a warm, lowland habitat.