Armbruster's wolf

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Armbruster's wolf
Temporal range: Early Pleistocene–Late Pleistocene
Canis ambrusteri skull.png
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Family: Canidae
Genus: Canis
Species: C. armbrusteri
Binomial name
Canis armbrusteri
J. W. Gidley, 1913
Canis armbrusteri range.png
Range of Armbruster's wolf based on fossil distribution
Timeline of canids with Canis armbrusteri in red. (Tedford & Wang)

Armbruster's wolf (Canis armbrusteri) is an extinct species of canid which was endemic to North America and lived during the Irvingtonian stage of the Pleistocene epoch 1.8 Mya—300,000 years ago, existing for approximately 1.5 million years.[1]


Canis armbrusteri may have evolved from C. chihliensis in Asia (Tedford, Wang, 182). C. armbrusteri first appears in the Early Pleistocene (Irvingtonian) in the southwestern United States. Remains are often found within the rock strata containing mammoth. C. dirus, the dire wolf, is thought to have evolved from C. armbrusteri in North America.[2] C. armbrusteri was displaced in the middle section of the continent by the dire wolf, with C. armbrusteri pushed southeastward until the Late Pleistocene (Rancholabrean stage) in Florida.[3]


Canis armbrusteri was named by J. W. Gidley in 1913. The first fossils were uncovered at Cumberland Bone Cave, Maryland, in an Irvingtonian terrestrial horizon. Fossil distribution is widespread throughout the U.S.[4]


Armbruster's wolf was generally larger and heavier than its older and longer living cousin, Canis lupus. Fossil records and current data show it was as much as 15 kg (33 lb) heavier.[5]

A specimen was estimated by Legendre and Roth to weigh 63.1 kg (140 lb) and another specimen was estimated to weigh 54.4 kg (120 lb).[6]

Sister species[edit]

Armbruster's wolf is considered a sister species of the dire wolf, one of the most recent evolutionary relatives of the modern wolf, differing from the gray wolf and dire wolf by a narrower skull. It is considered to be the closest relative to Canis falconeri.


  1. ^ PaleoBiology Database: Canis armbrusteri, age range and collections. Retrieved on 2012-12-31.
  2. ^ Tedford, Richard H.; Wang, Xiaoming; Taylor, Beryl E. (2009). "Phylogenetic systematics of the North American fossil Caninae (Carnivora, Canidae)". Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 325: 218. doi:10.1206/574.1. hdl:2246/5999. 
  3. ^ Tedford, Richard H., Wang, Xiaoming, Taylor, Beryl E. (2009). "Phylogenetic systematics of the North American fossil Caninae (Carnivora, Canidae)". Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 325: 1. doi:10.1206/574.1. hdl:2246/5999. 
  4. ^ PaleoBiology Database: ''Canis armbrusteri,'' fossil map. Retrieved on 2012-12-31.
  5. ^ Paleobiology Database: Canis lupus body mass.
  6. ^ Legendre, S. and Roth, C. (1988). "Correlation of carnassial tooth size and body weight in recent carnivores (Mammalia)". Historical Biology 1 (1): 85–98. doi:10.1080/08912968809386468.