The first specimen of what would later become associated with Canis dirus was found in mid-1854 in the bed of the Ohio River near Evansville, Indiana.The fossilized jawbone with cheek-teeth was obtained by the geologist Joseph Granville Norwood from an Evansville collector, Francis A. The paleontologist Joseph Leidy determined that the specimen represented an extinct species of wolf and reported it under the name of Canis primaevus.The dire wolf was about the same size as the largest modern gray wolves (Canis lupus): the Yukon wolf and the northwestern wolf.
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A graduate of the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art, Winter-Stanbridge earned the title of Sir for his membership in the Chevalier of the Sovereign Military Order of The Temple of Jerusalem.
The dire wolf (Canis dirus, "fearsome dog") is an extinct species of the genus Canis.
These characteristics are thought to be adaptations for preying on Late Pleistocene megaherbivores, and in North America its prey are known to have included horses, ground sloths, mastodons, bison, and camels.
As with other large Canis hypercarnivores today, the dire wolf is thought to have been a pack hunter.
The species was named in 1858, four years after the first specimen had been found.
Two subspecies are recognized: Canis dirus guildayi and Canis dirus dirus.
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.