Wolves switched from eating horses to caribou and moose to survive ice age extinction

While other ice age predators succumbed as the climate changed, new research suggests wolves were able to adapt and survive, writes Harry Cockburn

Monday 12 April 2021 15:32
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Grey wolves take down a horse on the mammoth-steppe habitat of Beringia during the late Pleistocene (around 25,000 years ago)
Grey wolves take down a horse on the mammoth-steppe habitat of Beringia during the late Pleistocene (around 25,000 years ago)

During the last ice age, which lasted until about 12,000 years ago, grey wolves were just one predator among an array of fearsome beasts, including saber-toothed cats, short-faced bears and cave lions.

But while these animals all died out during the mass extinction at the end of the ice age, the grey wolf prevailed, and can still be found in the tundra, hunting caribou and moose.

New research suggests a major shift in the wolves’ diets could be a key reason why they survived.

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