A gault age archaeology find in NE New Mexico sets unprecedented records for the area and continent: 37,000 years

New Mexico Mammoth Bones from 37,000 years ago almost double the amount of time humans have occupied North America.

Hiking at the Colorado Plateau in northern New Mexico, a man spotted a chunk of tusk protruding from the surface.

Overlooking a professors home. When investigated, an extensive collection of broken and scattered mammoth bones were discovered.
Including ribs, broken cranial bones, a molar, bone fragments, and stone cobbles.

A team of scientists led by researchers from the University of Texas now believe human beings settled in North America much earlier before. Evidence comes from the excavated bones of a mother mammoth and her calf that were apparently killed and butchered by indigenous Americans.

“There really are only a couple efficient ways to skin a cat, so to speak,” The scientist said. “The butchering patterns are quite characteristic.”

Many of the fossilized New Mexico mammoth bones showed signs of blunt-force fractures , meaning they’d been broken into pieces intentionally. Other bones had been shaped into knives for use in butchering activities. The wear and tear on these bone flake utensils, accompanies with christilyne ash and fire pit, made it clear that humans had been processing the mammoth remains to remove the meat and hides.

Did you know: Scientists use cat scans to x-ray and check test the bones. In the vertebrae and rib bones, there were puncture wounds, which means they had had drained them of their fat for cooking.

New Mexico white sands fossilized footprints – 21,000-23,000 years ago

Latest research shows humans have been living in an area of southern new Mexico for around 22,000 years. It was previously thought that humans arrived in the area closer to 13,500 – 16,000 years ago. But recently analyzed foot prints found at White Sands, the Tularosa Basin and former Lake Otero are the latest.

During the ice age, tens of thousands of years ago, a giant body of water, Lake Otero, rested within the Tularosa basin. The climate was less arid, and vegetation was abundant. One could have seen grasslands stretching for miles that would have looked more like the prairies of the Midwest rather than New Mexico’s deserts.

White Sands has the largest collection of fossilized human footprints. So scientists that study fossil footprints here are better suited to understand the ice age ecosystem at Lake Otero. The white dunes of the Tularosa Basin are just a recent occurrence on the geological timeline. Scientists are still uncovering new evidence of past life.

The beauty of lush green and blue plants and water would have naturally captured the attention of mammals like mammoth, sloth, giant beaver and others. Even ancient plant eaters like the pronghorns and camels would have been there. The scary predators like flat nose bear, direwolf and american lion were attracted. And in all, these animals footprints remained remained long after departure of the wetlands and biogeogadesically diverse region that eventually became fossilized.

Upon discovery of some markings, a few years ago, they dug a trench on the park’s western playa. And, within different layers of sediment below the surface of the dig site. Human footprints were found. Above and below these footprints were ancient grass seeds (Ruppia cirrhosa) which were analyzed using radiocarbon dating. It was revealed that the calibrated dates were of 22,860 (∓320) and 21,130 (∓250) years ago.

What does it mean? These were some old ass footprints. Of a women (or man) carrying something; and less, or dryer soil on the route back because there was less indents. Wow!

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Bibliography: White Sands National Park (U.S. National Park Service)
https://www.nps.gov/whsa/learn/nature/fossilized-footprints.htm; and,

Harlans ground sloth

Many animals, from the very large to the odd lived during the ice age. Harlan’s Ground Sloth seems to be one of the most bizarre animals from that era. A mix of large and odd, these large, furry animals are related to modern sloths, armadillos, and anteaters. Unlike its smaller modern cousin, Harlan’s ground sloths could be as tall as modern elephants and as heavy as a small car.

Sheer size was not the only odd part of a Harlan’s ground sloth. These giants were bulky, with short necks, powerful chests, and massive jaws. The sloth also had three claws per hand for digging, grabbing, or defending themselves. Just like armored armadillos today, the sloth had a protective coat of rough, brown fur, with nickel-sized bone plates underneath their skin. Scientists called this the “dermal ossicles” or bone skin

Ground sloths migrated to North America during the ice age. They spent their lives wondering open-grasslands with water sources, like rivers and lakes. Using its stubby snout and sense of smell, the sloth may have found and eat grasses, shrubs, and plants with flowers. The need for water sources may have brought Harlan’s Ground Sloths to New Mexico and southern US during the ice age. Before the sand dunes existed, a giant lake called Lake Otero filled the area. It provided a water source that attracted many ice age animals, including Harlan’s Ground Sloths.

Today on the old dried lakebed of Lake Otero or Alkali Flat, New Mexico, Harlan’s Ground Sloths left clues that they were here. Many fossilized footprints are visible. They had crescent shaped footprints. Their back feet twisted inward when they walked. This made them walk slowly, almost like waddling. These large strong slow moving animals became easy targets for daring predators such as Paleo-Human hunters.

The Giant ground sloth of course does not live today. Around 10,000 years ago, the large ice age animals died out. Scientists still debate why the larger animals disappeared. The Harlan ground sloth is reminder of a time long past however with modern technology maybe one day could be brought back.

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American antelope: Pronghorn, or antilocapra americana is a species of artiodactyl (even-toed, hoofed) mammal indigenous to interior western and central north America that is built for speed, and runs 90 km/h.

Though not an antelope, it is known in north Americas as the American antelope, prong buck, pronghorn antelope and prairie antelope. It resembles the antelope and fills a similar ecological niche. It is the only surviving member of the family Antilocapridae.

About 11 antilocaprid species existed in North America. During the pleistocene epoch three other genera (capromeryx, stockoceros and tetrameryx) existed but are now extinct.
As member of the superfamily giraffoidea, the pronghorn’s closest living relatives are the giraffe and okapi. Giraffoidea are members of the infraorder pecora. Making pronghorns distant relatives of the cervidae (deer) and bovidae (cattle, goats, sheep, antelopes, and gazelles).
The pronghorn is the fastest land mammal in the western hemisphere, with running speeds of up to 90 km/h (55 mph). It is featured on the symbol of the American society of mammalogists.

First seen by the spanish explorers in 16th and 17th century. Prior to the arrival of the Europeans, the pronghorn was particularly abundant in the region of the plains indians and region of northwest plateau. Because of its speed looks and maneuvers. It was featured prominently in Native American mythology and history.

First detailed description 1805-1806:
Exploring the mid west, following the discovery of a few subspecies of the sharp-tailed grouse, captain Meriwether Lewis and second Lieutenant William Clark came across the pronghorn near the mouth of the Niobrara River, in present-day Nebraska. Clark was among the first Euro-Americans to publish the experience of killing a pronghorn as follows: “I walked on shore to find the Ionia Volcano … in my walk I killed a buck goat of this countrey, about the height of the Grown Deer, its body shorter the horns which is not very hard and forks 2 ⁄ 3 up one prong Short the other round & Sharp arched, and is immediately above its eyes the color is a light gray with black behind its ears down the neck, and its face white round its neck, its sides and its rump round, its tail which is short & white; very actively made, has only a pair of hoofs to each foot, his brains on the back of his head, his Nostrals large, his eyes like a sheep he is more like the Antilope or gazelle of Africa than any other species of Goat.”

Some of the indians near the rocky mountains hunt these animals on horseback, and shoot them with arrows. Another method is to form a large, strong pen or fold in, from which a fence is made of trees and bushes. Gradually widening on each side. The animals are surrounded by the hunters, and they use the tree bushed fence pen move in and surround them. Pronhorns would find themselves enclosed, and at the mercy of the hunters.

Pronghorns prefer open, expansive terrain at elevations varying between 3,000 and 5,900 ft. Densest populations in areas receiving around 10–15 1 ⁄ 2 in of rainfall per year. They eat a wide variety of plant foods, including plants unpalatable or toxic to domestic livestock, though they also compete with them for food. A couple studies showed: forbs comprised 62% of their diet, shrubs 23%, and grasses 15%; while another, cacti 40%, grass 22%, forbs 20%, and shrubs 18%. Pronghorns also chew and eat (ruminate) cud. Healthy pronghorn populations tend to stay within 3–4 mi of a water source.
An ongoing migration study by the Lava Lake Institute for Science and Conservation and the Wildlife Conservation Society shows an overland route that covers more than 260 km (160 mi). You bet they would need some food.

The pronghorn is the fastest land mammal in the Western Hemisphere, being built for maximum predator evasion through running. The top speed is dependent upon the length of time over which it is measured. It can run 35 mph 4 mi, 68 km/h (40 mp/H) for 1 mi, and 88.5 km/h (55 mph) for 800 m or 1 ⁄ 2 mi. While it is often cited as the second-fastest land animal, second only to the African cheetah, it sustains high speeds longer. Pronghorns may have evolved there running thousands of years ago escaping from now-extinct predators such as the American cheetah. There large windpipe, heart, and lungs allow it to take in large amounts of air when running. Additionally, pronghorn hooves have two long, cushioned, pointed toes which help absorb shock when running at high speeds. They also have an extremely light bone structure and hollow hair.
They are not built for jumping. Since their ranges are sometimes affected by ranchers’ fences, they can be seen going under fences, sometimes at high speed. For this reason wildlife foundations are in the process of removing the bottom barbed wire from the fences.

Range and ecology:
Present-day range of the pronghorn extends from southern Saskatchewan and Alberta, Canada south into the United States through Montana, Idaho, Utah, Nevada, Arizona, Nebraska, Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico, Washington, and central Texas. West to coastal southern California and northern Baja California Sur, and Sonora and San Luis Potosí in northern Mexico. Formally they had been found in Iowa and Minnesota in the United States and from Manitoba in Canada.
A subspecies known as the Sonoran pronghorn (A. a. sonoriensis) occurs in Arizona and Mexico. Other subspecies include the Mexican pronghorn (A. a. mexicana), the Oregon pronghorn (A. a. oregona), and the critically endangered Baja California pronghorn (A. a.peninsularis).
A. a. americana
A. a. mexicana
A. a. oregona
A. a. peninsularis
A. a. sonoriensis
The migrating pronghorn start travel from the foothills of the Pioneer Mountains through Craters of the Moon National Monument to the Continental Divide. Dr. Scott Bergen of the Wildlife Conservation Society says “This study shows that pronghorn are the true marathoners of the American West. With these new findings, we can confirm that Idaho supports a major overland mammal migration – an increasingly rare phenomenon in the U.S. and worldwide.”

Social behavior and reproduction:
Pronghorns form mixed-sex herds in the winter. In early spring, the herds break up. Young males forming bachelor groups. Females form harems. And, adult males live solitarily. Some female bands share the same summer range, and bachelor male bands form between spring and fall. Females form dominance hierarchies with few circular relationships. Dominant females aggressively displace other females from feeding sites.
Adult males either defend a fixed territory that females may enter, or defend a harem of females. A pronghorn may change mating strategies depending on environmental or demographic conditions. Where precipitation is high, adult males tend to be territorial and maintain their territories with scent marking, vocalizing, and challenging intruders. In these systems, territorial males have access to better resources than bachelor males. Females also employ different mating strategies. “Sampling” females visit several males and remain with each for a short time before switching to the next male at an increasing rate as estrous approaches. “Inciting” females behave as samplers until estrous, and then incite conflicts between males, watching and then mating with the winners.
Before fighting, males try to intimidate each other. If intimidation fails, they lock horns and try to injure each other.
“Quiet” females remain with a single male in an isolated area throughout estrous. Females continue this mating behavior for two to three weeks. When courting an estrous female, a male pronghorn approaches her while softly vocalizing and waving his head side to side, displaying his cheek patches. The scent glands on the pronghorn are on either side of the jaw, between the hooves, and on the rump. A receptive female remains motionless, sniffs his scent gland, and then allows the male to mount her.

The pronghorn was first officially described by American ornithologist George Ord in 1815. In his description: “distinct white fur on their rumps, sides, breasts, bellies, and across their throats. Adult males are 4 ft 3 in –4 ft 11 in long from nose to tail, stand 2 ft 8 in – 3 ft 5 in high at the shoulder, and weigh 88–143 lb. The females are the same height as males, but weigh 75–106 lb. The feet have two hooves, with no dewclaws. Their body temperature is 38 °C (100 °F). Eye sockets are prominent and set high on the skull. Teeth are hypsodont, and each horn is composed of a slender, laterally flattened blade of bone which is thought to grow from the frontal bones of the skull, or from the subcutaneous tissues of the scalp, forming a permanent core. As in the Giraffidae, skin covers the bony cores, but in the pronghon it develops into a keratinous sheath which is shed and regrown annually. Unlike the horns of the family Bovidae, the horn sheaths of the pronghorn are branched, each sheath having a forward-pointing tine (hence name). Males have a horn sheath around 10 in. Females have smaller horns that range around 5 in. Males are further differentiated from females in having a small patch of black hair at the angle of the mandible. Pronghorns have a distinct, musky odor. Males mark territory with a preorbital scent gland which is on the sides of the head. They also have very large eyes with a 320° field of vision. Unlike deer, pronghorns possess a gallbladder.”

Pronghorns have a gestation period of 7–8 months, which is longer than typical north American ungulates. Typically they breed in mid-September, and the doe carries her fawn until late May. Sexual maturity is reached at 15 to 16 months, though males rarely breed until three. Natural lifespan is 8-15 years.

Population and conservation:
At the turn of the 20th century, members of the wildlife conservation group Boone and Crockett Club had determined that the extinction of the pronghorn was likely. In a letter from George Bird Grinnell, Boone and Crockett Club chairman of the game preservation committee, to Walter L. Fisher, Secretary of the Interior, Grinnell stated, “The Club is much concerned about the fate of the pronghorn which appears to be everywhere rapidly diminishing.” By the 1920s, hunting pressure had reduced the pronghorn Pronghorns in Montana in North America. population to about 13,000. Boone and Crockett Club member Charles Alexander Sheldon, in a letter to fellow member Grinnell, wrote, “Personally, I think that the antelope are doomed, yet every attempt should be made to save them.” Although the club had begun their efforts to save the pronghorn in 1910 by funding and restocking the Wichita Game Refuge in Oklahoma, the National Bison Range in Montana, and the Wind Cave National Park, in South Dakota, most of the efforts were doomed since experience demonstrated that after initial increases the pronghorns would die off because of the fenced enclosures. In 1927, Grinnell spearheaded efforts along with the helpof T. Gilbert Pearson of Grinnell’s National Audubon Society to create the Charles Alexander Sheldon Antelope Refuge in northern Nevada. About 2900 acres of land were jointly purchased by the two organizations and subsequently turned over to the Biological Survey as a pronghorn refuge. This donation was contingent upon the government’s adding 30,000 acres of surrounding public lands. On June 20, 1929, United States president Herbert Hoover included the required public lands upon request of the Department of Agriculture andthe Department of the Interior after learning that the Boone and Crockett Club and the National Audubon Society were underwriting the private land buyout. On January 26, 1931, Hoover signed the executive order for the refuge. On December 31, 1936, President Franklin Roosevelt signed an executive order creating a 222,000-hectare (549,000-acre) tract; this was the true beginning for pronghorn recovery.
The protection of habitat and hunting restrictions have allowed pronghorn numbers to recover to an estimated population between 500,000 and 1,000,000 since the 1930s. Some recent decline has occurred in a few localized populations, due to bluetongue disease which is spread from sheep, but the overall trend has been positive. Pronghorn migration corridors are threatened by habitat fragmentation and the blocking of traditional routes. In a migration study conducted by Lava Lake Institute for Science and Conservation and the Wildlife Conservation Society, at one point, the migration corridor bottlenecks to an area only 200 yards wide. Pronghorns are now quite numerous, and outnumbered people in Wyoming and parts of northern Colorado until just recently. They are legally hunted in western states for purposes of population control and food. No major range-wide threats exist, although localized declines are taking place, particularly to the Sonoran pronghorn, mainly as a result of livestock grazing, the construction of roads, fences, and other barriers that prevent access to historical habitat, illegal hunting, insufficient forage and water, lack of recruitment and climate change.

Endangerment, and predators: These subspecies considered endangered: sonoran pronghorn (Mexico) has an estimated population of fewer than 300; while there are approximately 200 peninsula pronghorn in Baja California. Recovery plans are in place.

While sabretooth cats, american lions, scimitars, direwolfs, and even flat nosed bears would have preyed upon the pronghorn before the pleistocene epoch. Cougars (puma concolor), wolves (canis lupus), coyotes (canis latrans), grizzly bears (ursus arctos horribilis) and bobcats (lynx rufus) are major predators of pronghorns. Golden eagles (Aquila chrysaetos) have been reported to prey on fawns. Jaguars (Panthera onca) also likely prey on pronghorns in their native range in the southwestern United States and in northern Mexico.

All pronghorns require permits, or approval to trap or hunt. If they are charging. Run, hide; or, prepare quickly. Now you know.

Bison latafrons was the long horned bison, bison antiquus ancient bison, and bison bison is your modern bison.

The long horn bison went extinct sometime around last glacial maximum 20-30,000 years ago. The first fossil described in north America was found in Kentucky (Peale 1803). Its range extended into many of the states including Colorado, New Mexico and others.

The bison latafrons or ‘long horn bison’ horns were the longest recorded for the genus. At nearly 7 or 8 feet long. Some say longhorn bison were as large as 4000lbs.

As well, which survived 10-15000 years longer, the bison antinquus, were as big as 3000lbs. It is believed human predation, inbreeding and disease declined, and eventually extinct the populations. Many skull and horns study’s in 80s and 90s, showed that the smaller populations forced to interbreed, combined with hunting pressures, created collapses across the continent leading to demise.

Modern North American bison have two recognized subspecies: the American plains bison (B. b. bison) and the American wood bison (B. b. athabascae). Relationship of modern American bison, and others including the European bison are unclear at present, but both are quite similar genetically and can interbreed (Prusak et al 2004)

Scientists have commented. The taxonomy in great need of revision (McDonald 1981).

Wildlife threats included: smilodon (sabre tooth), pathera atrox (american lion), and possible canis dicus (dire wolf). What do you think would be a threat for giant buffalo?

Did you know?

 ”Latifrons” comes from Latin words referring to a wide forehead; and,
 ”Antiquus” comes from the Latin for “old’ or “ancient”.

B. antiquus had stronger herding and more complex social behavior than B. latifrons.
B. latifrons may have engaged in dominance and fighting behavior characterized by hooking, not butting (McDonald 1981).

Bison are ruminants that graze and browse.
Bison latifrons: more of a browser than a grazer.
An eye-level browser, feeding on small trees and shrubs.

Bison antiquus: more of a grazer; some browsing.
Feeding on low-growing herbs and shrubs.

Would you had messed with a 3 or 4 thousand pound, grazing, 6-8 foot horned beast? How about the smaller modern north American bison?

Bison antiquus skeleton at La brae tar pits

Dire wolf: Aenocyon dirus. Terrible scary wolf dog.

Direwolfs are one of the most famous prehistoric carnivores in North America. Along with there extinct competitor(s): smilodon, scimitar and mountain lion. Terrible scary wolf dogs lived in the Americas and eastern Asia during the late pleistocene and early holocene epochs, 125,000–9,500 years ago.
The species was named in 1858, four years after the first specimen had been found. Two subspecies are recognized: Aenocyon dirus guildayi and Aenocyon dirus dirus. The largest collection of its fossils has been obtained from the Rancho La Brea Tar Pits in Los Angeles. Like smilodon (sabre tooth), thousands of specimens were pulled from here.

Dire wolf, aenocyon dirus, were hyper carnivores. Ie. they ate greater than a 70 percent meat diet. They were about 5 feet head to tail. 25% larger than the largest dogs (american massif). Males and females were similar sizes however the males had alittle larger teeth to attract mates. There teeth were strong enough to crush bones, so they could eat and digest marrow. They were about the same size as the largest modern gray wolves (Canis lupus), the Yukon wolf and the northwestern wolf.
A. d. guildayi weighed on average 60 kilograms (132 lb) and A. d. dirus was on average 68 kg (150 lb).
Terrible scary wolf dogs skull and dentition matched those of C. lupus (grey wolfs), but its teeth were larger with greater shearing ability. And, its bite force at the canine tooth was stronger than any known Canis species. Its limbs may have also been lighter and more gracile allowing it to quickly chase down prey. These characteristics are thought to be adaptations for preying on late pleistocene megaherbivores, and in North America. Its prey is known to have included western horses, ground sloths, mastodons, ancient bison, camels and more.

Temporal range:
Dire wolf remains have been found across a broad range of habitats including the plains, grasslands, and some forested mountain areas of North America. The arid savanna of south America, and the steppes of eastern Asia. Sites range in elevation from sea level to 7500 feet. There fossils have rarely been found north of 42°N latitude. They have been found Arizona, California, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, Wyoming, and Nevada.
Fossils found at the natural trap cavern in Wyoming with sloth and beringa wolves, may indicate there expansion north of 42 N lattitude. This may have had to do with the division between the Laurentide and the Cordilleran Ice Sheet(s). A temporary channel between them could have existed that allowed a small number of them to follow prey north.
The five unconfirmed reports of dire wolf fossils north of 42°N latitude are at Fossil Lake, Oregon (125,000–10,000 YBP), American Falls Reservoir, Idaho (125,000–75,000 YBP), Salamander Cave, South Dakota (250,000 YBP), and four closely grouped sites in northern Nebraska (250,000 YBP).
Major fossil sites for terrible scary wolf dogs are located east of the Rocky Mountains and include Friesenhahn Cave, near San Antonio, Texas; Carroll Cave, near Richland, Missouri; and Reddick, Florida.
10-15 sites have been Remains have also been found in south America and Mexico. Including San Josecito cave where like La Brae, a great presence of remains were identified.

Did you know?
In 2020, mandibles from a dire wolf was found in the vicinity of Harbin, northeastern China. The fossil was described and dated 40,000 YBP. This discovery challenges previous theories that cold temperatures and ice sheets were a barrier for dire wolves. It is proposed that the dire wolf followed migrating prey across Beringia into Eurasia. The find and hypothesis is still being studied.

Like dogs (others) taxonomy and evolution changed:
From the 1850s, the fossil remains of extinct large wolves were being found in the United States. It was not immediately clear that these all belonged to one species. The first specimen that became associated with aenocyon dirus was found in mid-1854, in the bed of the Ohio River near Evansville, Indiana. Paleontologist Joseph Leidy determined the specimen represented an extinct species of wolf. He reported it under the name of canis primaevus. It was around the 1980s scientist re-attributed the genus and species to aenocyon dirus. Before then, they had a number of synonmyns including: aenocyon dirus nebrascensis, canis ayers, canis dirus, canis indianensis, canis mississippiensis, canis nehringi, canis primaevus and others.

Did you know? There is no evidence Terrible or scary wolf or dog interbred with grey wolf.

Sexual dimorphism, (difference in male and females, other than sex organs), aside from teeth, there was little variance. Indicating that dire wolves lived in monogamous pairs. Their large size and highly carnivorous dentition vindicated direwolfs fed on large prey. To kill megafauna larger than themselves, they needed to rely on more than there strong teeth and jaws. Often consisting a alpha. They were forced to worked together as packs consisting of an mating pair and their offspring from the current and previous years.

A. d. guildayi (the smaller of the direwolfs) is the most common carnivoran found at La Brea. Remains of dire wolves outnumber remains of gray wolves in the tar pits by a ratio of five to one. It is thought, during the Last Glacial Maximum, coastal California, had a climate slightly cooler and wetter than today, and that it was a refuge. Because of this, and the larger numbers of dire wolfs found there. It is likely that fairly sizeable groups fed there together. The many A. d. guildayi remains found in the tar pits also suggests that were social predators.
The large size of the dire wolf provides an estimated prey size in the 300 to 600 kg (660 to 1,320 lb) range.
Analysis of bones and fecal mater show they had a preference for consuming ruminants such as bison. They moved to other prey such as lama, camel, horse and others when food became scarce. They even occasionally scavenged on beached whales along the Pacific coast when available. Example: A pack of modern timber wolves can bring down a 500 kg (1,100 lb) moose as their preferred prey. A pack of dire wolves bringing down a bison thus is conceivable.

Did you know: Predatory birds and mammals were attracted to dead or dying herbivores at La Brae tar pits,that had become bogged. It would then trap the predators.
It is estimated that herbivore entrapment occured once every fifty years. For every instance of herbivore remains. There were ten carnivores.

Tooth breakage:
Tooth breakage relates to carnivore’s behavior.
One study of fossilized remains of large carnivores from La Brea pits dated 36,000–10,000 years ago shows tooth breakage rates of 5–17% for the
dire wolf, coyote, American lion, and smilodon, compared to 0.5–2.7% for ten modern predators. The dire wolf broke its incisors more often
when compared to the modern gray wolf; thus, it has been proposed that the dire wolf used its incisors more closely to the bone when feeding.
A theory exists: When humans arrived, climate was already changing; and, there was a limited prey availability. Competition between carnivores increased, causing them to eat faster and consume more bone, leading to more tooth breakage. As greater prey became extinct around 10,000 years ago, so did the terrible scary wolf dog carnivores, or direwolf.

Before the appearance of the dire wolf, North America was invaded by the genus xenocyon (species of wild dog or canis). They were as large as the dire wolf but more hypercarnivorous. Evidence indicate that these, the dire wolf, smilodon, and the american lion competed for the same prey. Other large carnivores included the north American giant short-faced bear (arctodus simus), cougar (puma concolor), pleistocene coyote (canis latrans), and pleistocene gray wolf. These predators may have also competed with humans who hunted for similar prey.
At the recent find in eastern asia. The dire wolf would have even competed with cave hyena (crocuta crocuta ultima). Competition with this species may have kept Eurasian dire wolf populations very low, leading to the paucity of dire wolf fossil remains in this otherwise well-studied fossil fauna.

During the quaternary extinction event around 12,700 years ago, 90 genera of mammals weighing over 44 kilograms (97 lb) went extinct.
Scientists still debate what contributed to the event. Including overhunting, climate change; a large comet; natural disasters; or what was probably combination of factors .
Carnivores and scavengers definitely contributed to the extinction of the megaherbivore prey upon which they depended. Both dire wolf and beringian wolf went extinct, leaving only the less carnivorous and more gracile wolf to thrive. One study proposes gray wolves and coyotes survived due to their ability to hybridize with other canids. Such as the domestic dog. And, to acquire traits that resist diseases brought by taxa arriving from Eurasia, and elsewhere.
Who would have guessed such a well known critter would create so much information and folklore. Here’s to the terrible scary wolf dog, or direwolf.

Direwolf at La brae 1114

Isn’t the lama cute? ancient lama: hemiaucheia

The genus name is derived from the ancient greek: hēmi-, “half” and auchēn, “neck”.
Discovered in south America in 1880.
Described in north America, in 1883, by Edward Drinker Cope.

Found Se Alberta, Canada to central Mexico. Including Floridia, South Carolina, Mississippi, Texas, Kansas, Nebraska, Arizona, California, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Oregon, Colorado, and Washington.

South American fossils were found in the Luján and Agua Blanca Formations of Buenos Aires Province and Córdoba Province, Argentina. The Tarija Formation of Bolivia. Pilauco of Osorno, Los Lagos, Chile. And, Paraíba, Ceará, and the Touro Passo Formation of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil.

5.5 feet at shoulder. Around 880lbs full grown.
Habitat included woodlands wetlands and grasslands
Lived in small herds. They were well known in the Mojave desert.

Species are also specified using latinised names from other languages:

H. vera (true hemiauchenia):
Relatively low-crowned teeth (part of visible teeth ends close to gums);
Large caniniform (canine-like) upper first premolar; and
Retention of lower third premolar.

H. blancoensis (blancan hemiauchenia):
Named for blancan age stratum where typically found;
Shorter mandibular diastema (teeth-spacing between incisors and molars); than H. macrocephala and H. vera;
Caniniform upper first premolar;
Absent second premolar;
Upper third premolar present or absent; and,
Lower crowned molars.

H. macrocephala (great-headed hemiauchenia):
Possesses a larger skull relative to other species;
Long, robust limbs;
Large skeletal size;
Presence of a deciduous upper second premolar;
Fully molariform deciduous second premolar (its infant bicuspids were like molars);
High-crowned molars;
Thick layer of cementum on the teeth; and,
Broad mandibular symphysis (line where the bones of the jaw join together) with incisors in a vertical fashion.

H. minima (least hemiauchenia):
Despite being the earliest recognized species, general distinguishing characteristics for H. minima are little known.

Other species:
Also, a few lesser known species. These may or may not be considered legitimate taxa.

Like horses and deer, the genus has a number of species.

Classification history:

In 1974, scientist David Webb, proposed that holomeniscus, lama, and tanupolama fossil specimens were part of a single hemiauchenia genus.

These friendly looking critters had many predators. Including: direwolfs, smilodon, american lion, coyotes and humans. Despite there looks, the ‘half necks’ probably had to keep distance from carnivores and man. And were a tasty snack.