Game of Thrones dairy wolves were real. Now we know why they became extinct


In this parable, a pack of terrifying wolves feed on bison, while a pair of gray wolves come hoping for scavenging.

Mauricio Anton

The author of Game Th F Thrones is George R.R. Martin did not discover the terrible wolf, the pets given to the children of the Stark family (even John Snow) in the book and TV series. They are a real, but now extinct, canine species that lived about 12,500 years ago to about 9,500 years ago. A new study, published Wednesday in the journal Nature, reveals more about why they no longer exist: Even if Dyer wolves are willing, they can’t litter a few terrifying wolves with today’s gray wolves.

“Despite the anatomical similarities between the gray wolf and the terrifying wolf – suggesting that they may be as closely related as modern humans and Neanderthals – our genetic results show that these two species of wolves are like distant cousins, like humans and chimpanzees.” Said Kieran Mitchell, co-lead author of the study from the university.

Gray wolves can breed with other similar animals, including African wolves, dogs, coyotes, and squirrels, but were very genetically different to mate with other groups of terrifying wolves. According to the study, terrifying wolves broke away from this wolf’s lineage about 6 million years ago and were only a distant relative of today’s wolves.


In a scene from HBO’s Game of Thrones, Thormond sees Giantsben and John Snow riding a terrible wolf, Ghost, John.

Helen Sloan / HBO

“While ancient humans and Neanderthals seem to be intertwined, as modern gray wolves and coyotes do, our genetic data provide no evidence that the endangered wolf interferes with any living animal species.” “All our data point to the terrible wolf that is the last living member of an ancient lineage different from the living canine.”

The research was led by the University of Durham in the UK, with the help of scientists from Oxford University, Ludwig Maximilian University in Germany, the University of Adelaide and UCLA. The team created ancient DNA from the remains of five ferocious wolf sub-fossils in Wyoming, Idaho, Ohio and Tennessee, respectively, dating back to 20,000,000 years ago.

This study was the first time ancient DNA was taken on the basis of a ferocious wolf and suggested that the species had evolved only in North America for millions of years, as other species could not migrate as it occurred between North America and Eurasia. Since other species of wolves could not be interfered with, the researchers followed some genetic traits that kept these species alive, not assigned to the ancient canines.

The study notes that more than 4,000 terrifying wolves have been excavated from the La Bari wire pit in Los Angeles, but scientists don’t know much about why they disappeared. Gray wolves, found in pits, are still present today.