[Daily article] July 17: Dire wolf

The dire wolf (Canis dirus, “fearsome dog”) was a prehistoric carnivore
of the Western Hemisphere in the late Pleistocene Epoch
(125,000–10,000 years ago). The extinct species probably evolved from
Armbruster’s wolf (Canis armbrusteri). The dire wolf was about the same
size as the Yukon and Northwestern wolves, the largest modern gray
wolves (Canis lupus). Its skull and dentition matched those of the gray
wolf, but its teeth were larger with greater shearing ability, and its
bite force at the canine tooth was the strongest of any known Canis
species. These adaptations allowed it to hunt, probably in packs, for
Late Pleistocene megaherbivores. In North America it competed with the
sabre-toothed cat for prey including horses, sloths, mastodons, bison,
and camels. Dire wolf remains have been found across a broad range of
habitats including the plains, grasslands, and some forested mountain
areas of North America, and in the arid savannah of South America. The
largest collection of dire wolf fossils comes from the La Brea Tar Pits
in Los Angeles; its latest remains date from 9,440 years ago.

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Today’s selected anniversaries:


The Battle of Castillon, the last conflict of the Hundred
Years’ War, ended with the English losing all landholdings in France,
except Calais.


Dene men, acting as guides to Samuel Hearne on his exploration
of the Coppermine River in present-day Nunavut, Canada, massacred a
group of about 20 Copper Inuit.


RMS Carpathia, which had rescued the survivors of the RMS
Titanic sinking, was itself sunk by a German U-boat.


Two ships laden with ammunition for World War II exploded at
the Port Chicago Naval Magazine in Port Chicago, California, killing 320
sailors and civilians, and injuring more than 400 others.


Queen Elizabeth II officially opened the Manchester Metrolink,
the first modern street running light rail system in the United Kingdom.

Wiktionary’s word of the day:

1. (not comparable) Not used.
2. Not accustomed (to), unfamiliar with.

Wikiquote quote of the day:

  Of all the people who failed to buy one of my books today, the
vast majority did so because they never heard of them, not because they
got a free digital copy from the Internet.  
–Cory Doctorow

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