Scientists have discovered that the African Golden Jackal is actually a type of wolf.
The two jackals of the African and Eurasian continents are different from one other. And this study took DNA samples from both as the starting point. So there can be no doubt about the matter.
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Genes don’t lie. The group of Canids includes within its purview: wolves, dogs, foxes and jackals. The Golden Jackal is the first species of wolf that was spotted on African soil in the last 150 years.
The research speaks for itself. The African jackal is just a gray wolf. Frozen DNA samples of golden jackals got retrieved from age old storage facilities. These samples led to a new hypothesis.
Now the jackal has the new epithet of African golden wolf. The mistake that was made was a big one indeed. African and Eurasian jackals got confused due to their skull and tooth shapes. They are in fact two separate strains that have evolved apart from each other for more than a million years.
There is not even the least bit of resemblance on the genetic level between these two creatures. The African species joins with wolves and coyotes. Jackals don’t enter the equation at all.
The study has not reached its denouement. There lies more in store for future times. Mankind had thought that it knew all there was to know about the Canid species. But this is just the beginning of genome research into this special branch of animals.
Many of them are domesticated by man as well. The fact that a new species of wolf has come under the taxonomic radar is cause for celebration.
The jackal populations split from each other more than one million years ago. We have a lot more to learn about Canid species. What were the same sub-types have proven to be different in kind. And in the future, it might be that what were absolute opposites will turn out to be the selfsame species.
It is a re-shuffling and magic card trickery of the genes. The studies comprised mitochondrial DNA samples. They were under the microscope’s lens. The exhaustive study proved fruitful in the end. Now we know something that remained hidden from our knowledge base in the past.
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We’re excited to share the discovery of the first new canid species in Africa in 150 years, the African golden wolf....Posted by Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute on Thursday, July 30, 2015