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dire wolf

[ dahyuhr-woolf ]
/ ˈdaɪər ˌwʊlf /
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noun
an extinct canid species, Aenocyon dirus, with two recognized subspecies (A. dirus dirus and A. dirus guildayi), living in the Americas and eastern Asia during the Late Pleistocene and Early Holocene epochs: similar in size to the largest modern gray wolf (Canis lupus), but with larger, more powerful teeth suited for preying upon large prehistoric herbivores, such as mastodons, bison, camels, and horses.
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Origin of dire wolf

First recorded in 1910–15; translation of New Latin Canis dirus “dread dog,” species name coined by Joseph Leidy (1858); designation Aenocyon dirus (from Greek ainós, “terrible” + Greek cýon, “dog” [+ dirus ]) proposed (but not universally accepted) in 1918 to consolidate variously named species deemed separate from genus Canis; 2021 DNA findings show the dire wolf to be highly distinct from extant wolflike canines and so the classification A. dirus is now accepted as appropriate
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022

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