[ skip to content ]


Kathleen Lyons, an assistant professor of biological sciences at Old Dominion University, was quoted as an expert on Pleistocene mammals in an article June 21, 2007, in National Geographic News.

She was asked to comment on research published in the journal Current Biology about wolves that lived during the last ice age in what is now Alaska. The researchers' findings from a variety of studies describe the wolves as having strong jaws and massive canine teeth that enabled them to kill and eat-bones and all-very large animals such as mammoths and bison. These ancient wolves, which were genetically distinct from today's wolves, became extinct at the end of the Pleistocene epoch about 10,000 years ago, probably because much of their prey also died off.

Lyons, who was not involved in the research reported in Current Biology, studies extinct mammals to understand how current climate change might affect species diversity. She told National Geographic News that these latest findings are a "great example of how using different lines of evidence can give you a full picture of an extinct animal."

The bottom line, according to Lyons: "If you don't preserve the species' habitat and the species' prey species, then your efforts to try and preserve a species are going to be problematic at best."

Blaire Van Valkenburgh, an evolutionary biologist at UCLA, is the co-author of the study who is quoted in the article.

National Geographic News is an online service of NationalGeographic.Com.

This article was posted on: June 22, 2007

Old Dominion University
Office of University Relations

Room 100 Koch Hall Norfolk, Virginia 23529-0018
Telephone: 757-683-3114

Old Dominion University is an equal opportunity, affirmative action institution.