Everyone has their own characters to root for in Game of Thrones. There’s no shortage of heroes and social climbers to pick for a favorite, but, as the blood-soaked seasons have wound on, I’ve been sorry to see my favorites killed off one by one. In Westeros, direwolves are the real underdogs, facing down the same extinction that they suffered in the real world.

George R.R. Martin’s canids are a curious breed. The beasts are enormous, with some rumored to reach the size of ponies, and they’re also part of the novelist’s Pleistocene pastiche. Along with woolly mammoths, direwolves are creatures that really lived on Earth not so very long ago. And while Game of Thrones has largely neglected these poor pups, paleontologists have been able to dig up quite a bit about the lives of the Ice Age pack hunters that used to pad around North America.

If you were able to wander around the Ice Age Americas between 125,000 and 10,000 years ago, you would have been able to hear the howls of dire wolves almost everywhere you went. Their bones have been found from southern Alberta, Canada all the way down to Bolivia at elevations from sea level up to 7,400 feet. In the what would become the United States, they loped from coast to coast, although the hundreds upon hundreds of specimens drawn from the La Brea asphalt seeps in southern California puts all other collections to shame.

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pastiche: n.混成曲;模仿画

mammoths: n. 长毛象

paleontologists: n. 古生物学

elevations: n. 提升

asphalt: n. 沥青;柏油



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