Scientists recently identified a new wolf species in Africa. It seems that the golden jackal in Africa could be a genetically separate species from the European golden jackals.
A recent report conducted by international researchers from Russia, the United States and other countries examined the microsatellite, mitochondrial and genomic sequence information in order to compare the two species of golden jackals. After they did this, the scientists compared the two species to gray wolves in order to find out if the African golden jackal is a different species.
A conservation and evolutionary geneticist from the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute from Washington, Klaus-Peter Koepfli said that their results revealed that the Eurasian and African golden jackals are different regarding every genetic marker they tested, including information gathered from whole genomes, which suggests that the species are evolving lineages independently.
Koepfli said that this is the first discovery of a brand new species of canid in Africa in more than 150 years. Koepfli also said that one of the main reveals of the study is that there is a possibility to discover covered biodiversity even amongst very widespread and well-known species like the golden jackal. These kinds of discoveries are even more possible by analyzing information from whole genomes. The data they have regarding nuclear DNA and mitochondrial DNA phylogenies are different, but they are reliable in revealing that the two lineages from those two golden jackals are certainly not each other’s relatives.
The African golden wolf can be found in East and North Africa and maybe some specimens in the Middle East and the Eurasian golden wolf can be found from the southern Europe to the Middle East and all across southern Asia to the Southeast Asia in Vietnam.
Robert Wayne from the University of California in Los Angeles said that to their surprise, the golden jackal from eastern Africa was in fact a small range of a new species, different from the gray wolf, which can be found across East and North Africa.
The golden jackal’s scientific name is Canis aureus. The researchers proposed to rename the species to Africa Canis anthus, otherwise known as the African golden wolf. The recent finding increases the number of species that are still living inside the mammalian family named Canidae, which includes jackals, coyotes, foxes, wolves and dogs from 35 to 36.
The new study regarding the discovery of a new wolf species in Africa was published in the Current Biology journal.
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