African and Eurasian golden jackals are separate species

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La Striata
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African and Eurasian golden jackals are separate species

Post by La Striata » Thu Jul 30, 2015 2:03 pm

African golden jackals are actually golden wolves

Look at the long, slender snout and small body of an African golden jackal, and you’d be forgiven if you confused it with the golden jackal of Eurasia. Even researchers have long considered them members of the same species, canis aureus. But a new study says the two are separate species despite their similar good looks. To come up with the new classification, researchers compared genomewide DNA samples from jackals, gray wolves, and dogs. They found that African golden jackals diverged from coyotes and gray wolves some 1.3 million years ago, compared with 1.9 million years for Eurasian golden jackals, and that the two groups’ mitochondrial DNA differs by up to 6.7%. But because both species feed on the same prey in similar environments, they may have developed nearly identical physical traits—a process known as parallel evolution. To honor their find, researchers writing in Current Biology have suggested a name closer to the creature’s roots: canis anthus, or the African golden wolf. The new classification would bring the total number of living dog species from 35 to 36, and it might just go to show that you can hide a wolf, as long as it’s in jackal’s clothing.
Here's a link to the study:

http://www.cell.com/current-biology/abs ... 15)00787-3

I've always suspected this. Even before the publication of this paper, I'd considered their separation on the following grounds;

1. Their differing appearances. Yes, I know this is a superficial view to take, but let's get it out of the way as soon as possible. Aside from colouration (which really doesn't indicate anything, considering the amount of variation present in wolves), the most striking difference I see is the presence of a "stop" on the foreheads of the African variety.

2. Mating behaviours. According to Mammals of the Soviet Union (which mentions Eurasian jackals), the copulatory tie lasts 20-45 minutes, whereas The behavior guide to African mammals states that it lasts four minutes in African jackals.

3. Genetics. Apparently, the karotype of Indian jackals is NF = 80, as opposed to NF = 84 in other populations. Such a discrepancy is not present among domestic dogs and wolves.

4. Reproductive compatability. According to The Animal Kingdom: Arranged in Conformity with Its Organization by Charles Hamilton Smith, although Asian and African golden jackals can produce offspring, few of said pups survive birth, almost like the case with hybrid big cats.
I cannot see that wolves are in any way nobler in character than hyenas- Frederick Selous

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Re: African and Eurasian golden jackals are separate species

Post by Koa » Fri Jul 31, 2015 10:18 pm

(Not sure why the hyperlink to the study is acting up. Might want to disable parsing for URLs.)

Interesting! Thanks for posting this. Looks like I have go to revise my edit in the FAQ thread now.

So, it doesn't make the cut as a "wolf" now, does it?
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Re: African and Eurasian golden jackals are separate species

Post by La Striata » Sat Aug 01, 2015 5:34 am

Koa wrote:(Not sure why the hyperlink to the study is acting up. Might want to disable parsing for URLs.)

Interesting! Thanks for posting this. Looks like I have go to revise my edit in the FAQ thread now.

So, it doesn't make the cut as a "wolf" now, does it?
The African golden wolf is closer to the grey wolf and coyote than the golden jackal is, but both are closer to the grey wolf and coyote than the Ethiopian wolf is.
I cannot see that wolves are in any way nobler in character than hyenas- Frederick Selous

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