Evidence emerges that African and Eurasian golden jackals (Canis aureus) are two distinct species


The African golden jackal (left) is more closely related to wolves than jackals, and should be considered a separate species from the Eurasian golden jackal (right), scientists argue. Photo sources (L to R): D. Gordon, E. Robertson; Eyal Cohen

Both Eurasia and Africa are home to populations of animals known as “golden jackals” (Canis aureus).  Visually, they are extremely similar; genetically, however, they appear to be very distinct.

After analyzing DNA collected from both populations of jackals (as well as wolves and other related canids), Klaus-Peter Koepfli of the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Washington, D.C. and his colleagues argue that the populations are two distinct species, with the African population more closely related to gray wolves and coyotes than to jackals. They argue that the African species should be considered a “new” species of wolf, and renamed African golden wolves (Canis anthus).

Read the original article (in the journal Current Biology) here:

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