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Extinct wolf (Canis dirus) that existed during the Pleistocene Epoch (2.6 million–11,700 years ago), probably the most common mammalian species found preserved in the La Brea Tar Pits. It differed from the modern wolf in being larger and having a more massive skull, a smaller brain (and probably less intelligence), and relatively light limbs. The species was considerably widespread; skeletal remains have been found in Florida and the Mississippi valley in the U.S., as well as in the Valley of Mexico.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on dire wolf, visit Britannica.com.