Creature of the Quarter
The Dire Wolf
Another of the many extra-large carnivores of the Pleistocene epoch is the Dire Wolf.
While superficially similar to the modern gray and timber wolves, the Dire wolf was slightly larger, with shorter, stockier limbs and more massive bone structure. With wider, heavier skulls than modern wolves Dire Wolves were formidible predators. This probably kept the dire wolf from being as good a runner as modern wolves but gave them a power advantage for taking down large prey.
While Dire Wolf fossils are found throughout Canada, the U.S. and into Mexico, the largest concentration ever found was at the famous LaBrea Tarpits in Los Angeles. Over 1600 individuals and hundreds of complete skulls have been found at this site alone. In Florida, Dire wolf den sites have been found, primarily in old sinkhole deposits. Found along with bones from wolves are bones from their common prey; horses, camels, rabbits and deer.