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Diet change allowed gray wolves to survive the Ice Age

Investigation Development

A study by the Canadian Museum of Nature has concluded that wolves could have survived adapting their diet for thousands of years, from the beginning (when they fed mainly on horses in the Pleistocene) until today they eat elk and caribou. Likewise, the research results have been published in the journal Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology.

The research team analyzed the remains that were preserved in the teeth and bones of ancient gray wolves (50,000 years ago) and modern ones. Thus, they were able to study the change in diet by examining wear patterns on the teeth and chemical traces on the bones of gray wolves.

The results concluded that horses represented approximately 50% of their diet during the Pleistocene. They also fed on caribou, sheep and mammoths, although they only symbolized 15% of his diet. All this at a time when wolves coexisted with other large predators, such as short-faced bears (arctodus) or scimitar-toothed cats (homotherini).

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