Home https://server7.kproxy.com/servlet/redirect.srv/sruj/smyrwpoii/p2/ Science https://server7.kproxy.com/servlet/redirect.srv/sruj/smyrwpoii/p2/ Game of Thrones’ gloomy wolves were real. We now know why they became extinct

Game of Thrones’ gloomy wolves were real. We now know why they became extinct


In this illustration, a pack of gloomy wolves live with a bison, while a pair of gray wolves approach in hopes of cleaning.

Mauricio Anton

Game of Thrones author George RR Martin did not invent gloomy wolves, the pets given to the children of the Stark family (even Jon Snow) in the book and TV series. They are a true but now extinct dog species that lived from 125,000 years ago to about 9,500 years ago. A new study published Wednesday in the journal Nature reveals more about why they are no more: Dirty wolves could not make small gloomy wolf litters with today’s gray wolves, even if they wanted to.

“Despite anatomical similarities between gray wolves and gloomy wolves – suggesting that they might be related in the same way as modern humans and Neanderthals – our genetic findings show that these two species of wolves are much more like distant cousins, like humans. and chimpanzees, “said study lead author Kieren Mitchell of the University of Adelaide in Australia.

Gray wolves can and do cross other similar animals, including African wolves, dogs, coyotes and jackals, but gloomy wolves were too genetically diverse to mate with the other groups. According to the study, gloomy wolves split from the lineages of these wolves nearly 6 million years ago and were only a distant relative of today’s wolves.


In a scene from HBO’s Game of Thrones, Tormund Giantsbane and Jon Snow’s gloomy wolf, Ghost, watch Jon ride away.

Helen Sloan / HBO

“While ancient humans and Neanderthals appear to have inbred, like modern gray wolves and coyotes, our genetic data provided no evidence that spooky wolves mingled with any living dog species,” Mitchell said. “All our data indicate that the gloomy wolf is the last surviving member of an ancient genus that is different from all living dogs.”

The research was led by Durham University in the UK with the help of researchers at the University of Oxford, Ludwig Maximilian University in Germany, the University of Adelaide and UCLA. The team sequenced the ancient DNA from five grim wolf sub-fossils from Wyoming, Idaho, Ohio and Tennessee, dating back over 50,000 years ago.

The study was the first time that ancient DNA has been taken from gloomy wolves, and it suggested that the species only evolved in North America for millions of years and did not migrate like other species between North America and Eurasia. Because the wolves could not cross each other with other species, the researchers postulate some of the genetic traits that kept these species alive were not passed on to the ancient dogs.

The study notes that more than 4,000 gloomy wolves have been excavated from La Brea Tar Pits in Los Angeles, but researchers do not know much about the reasons why they disappeared. Gray wolves, also found in the wells, are still found today.

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