Dire Wolf - Art by Mauricio Antón

Robert Wayne in UCLA Newsroom: The dire wolf was a distinct species, different from the gray wolf, biologists discover

The iconic, prehistoric dire wolf, which prowled through Los Angeles and elsewhere in the Americas over 11 millennia ago, was a distinct species from the slightly smaller gray wolf, an international team of scientists reports today in the journal Nature. “The terrifying dire wolf, a legendary symbol of Los Angeles and the La Brea Tar Pits, has earned its place among the many large, unique species that went extinct at the end of the Pleistocene epoch,” said UCLA’s Robert Wayne, a distinguished professor of ecology and evolutionary biology and the study’s co-senior author. The Pleistocene, commonly called the Ice Age, ended roughly 11,700 years ago.