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Degree Name

MS (Master of Science)

Program

Biology

Date of Award

5-2011

Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Blaine W. Schubert

Committee Members

James I. Mead, Steven C. Wallace

Abstract

It has been hypothesized that dietary differences in bone consumption exist between the extinct Pleistocene dire wolf (Canis dirus) and the modern gray wolf (C. lupus). Here dental microwear texture analysis of the m2 is used to test the hypothesized dietary behavior of C. dirus. If the m2 does distinguish dietary tendencies and dire wolves were heavy bone consumers, then the microwear signals of C. dirus should be similar to extant duraphageous canids. Microwear texture analysis of C. dirus was compared with that of C. lupus, coyote (C. latrans), and African wild dog (Lycaon pictus) to assess the degrees of bone consumption. An overall lack in statistically significant variables suggests little difference between the dietary tendencies between C. dirus and C. lupus. The dire wolf did not closely align with the duraphageous L. pictus, which calls into question the hypothesis of heavy carcass utilization during the Pleistocene.

Document Type

Thesis - Campus Only

Copyright

Copyright by the authors.

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