The Grey WOlf
By: Amber Weeks
How old is the grey wolf?
Scientist believe that the some of the early ancestors of the Gray Wolf were a group of generalized carnivores named the creodonts that first walked the northern hemisphere of the earth between 100 and 120 million years ago. About 55 million years ago, the creodonts gave rise to the carnassials, a group of wolf-like animals that had specialized jaws for eating meat. One member of this family, Miacis, is thought to be the ancestor for all present-day wolves, dogs, weasels, bears, and raccoons.
Miacis branched into a number of species by 30 to 40 million years ago, giving rise to a more recent ancestor of modern wolves. Cynodicits, however, was much smaller than the wolf of today, with shortened legs and a flexible body. Between 15 and 30 million years ago, Cynodictissplit into Cynodesmusand Tomarctusto give yield to wolf-like animals with longer legs, more compact feet, a shortened tail, and a smaller big toe.
When did the wolf become a wolf?
Somewhere between 4.5 and 9 million years ago during the Miocene, the recent ancestors of wolves split off from the ancestors of foxes. By 1.8 million years ago, wolves in North America had split from coyotes, and looked very much like they still do today. Just think of this: when you look at a wolf, you are in a way looking at an animal that is 2 million years old!
what do they eat?
They have a diverse diet but are mainly meat eaters. But they can and do eat some plants ( if very hungry ) Their chief large prey are herbivores, like red deer, reindeer, moose and bison, and they catch smaller animals, like boar, beaver, hare, rodents and birds. They also scavenge carcasses and eat insects, nuts and berries.