• Research Center in Biodiversity and Genetic Resources

    InBIO Associate Laboratory

    Research Center in  Biodiversity and Genetic Resources
  • Research Center in Biodiversity and Genetic Resources

    InBIO Associate Laboratory

    Research Center in  Biodiversity and Genetic Resources
  • Research Center in Biodiversity and Genetic Resources

    InBIO Associate Laboratory

    Research Center in  Biodiversity and Genetic Resources
  • Research Center in Biodiversity and Genetic Resources

    InBIO Associate Laboratory

    Research Center in  Biodiversity and Genetic Resources
 

 

 

 
 
GENOMIC DATA PROVIDE EVIDENCE THAT AFRICAN AND EURASIAN GOLDEN JACKALS ARE DISTINCT SPECIES
A new study recently published by Current Biology reveals that African and Eurasian golden jackals are two separate species and that first is actually more related to the gray wolf.
 

Given their physical similarity, African and Eurasian golden jackals have long been considered to be a single species: Canis aureus. However, a recent study conducted by an international team of experts that includes CIBIO-InBIO’s researchers Raquel Godinho, Pedro Silva, Francisco Álvares and José Carlos Brito reveals that these are in fact two distinct species and that African golden jackals are more closely related to gray wolves, regardless of the fact that they look very different from the latter and that there is now evidence of the existence of gray wolves in Africa.


In their paper, recently published by the journal Current Biology, the researchers provide an in-depth analysis of genomic data, including mitochondrial and nuclear genome sequences retrieved from African and Eurasian golden jackals, gray wolves and other related canid species. The results obtained provide sound evidence that these animals are genetically distinct and independent lineages. According to their findings, the African golden jackal lineage split from gray wolves and coyotes approximately 1.3 million years ago, whereas the Eurasian golden jackals’ lineage did so around 1.9 million years ago. Moreover, they also demonstrate that African golden jackals likely represent a separate species, more closely related to the gray wolf, thus making the first discovery of a 'new' canid species in Africa in over 150 years. This “new” species, named by the researchers as African golden wolf (Canis anthus), brings the overall biodiversity of canids from 35 to 36 known species.


The physical similarities between the Eurasian golden jackal and the African golden wolf can be explained due to a process of parallel evolution. Basically, since both species feed on the same kind of prey in identical environments, they developed almost identical physical traits.

 

These findings have gathered great media attention, both nationally and internationally, with articles being published by prestigious newspapers and magazines, such as Público or The Guardian.

 

Please follow the links below to know more about this interesting study:
O chacal-dourado de África é afinal… um lobo | Público | Aug 03, 2015 (in Portuguese only)
Golden jackal: A new wolf species hiding in plain sight | theguardian | Jul 30, 2015

Golden jackals’ of East Africa are actually golden wolves, biologists report | myScience | Jul 30, 2015
African golden jackals are actually golden wolves | Science AAAS | Jul 30, 2015

 

To access the original article, please go to:

Koepfli K-P, Pollinger J, Godinho R, Robinson J, Lea A, Hendricks S, Schweizer RM, Thalmann O, Silva P, Fan Z, Yurchenko AA, Dobrynin P, Makunin A, Cahill JA, Shapiro B, Álvares F, Brito JC, Geffen E, Leonard JA, Helgen KM, Johnson WE, O’Brien SJ, Van Valkenburgh B, Wayne RK (2015) Genome-wide evidence reveals that African and Eurasian Golden Jackals are distinct species. Current Biology, 25 (doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2015.06.060)

 

Posted in 2015-08-03