Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New African wolf discovered

Date:
January 31, 2011
Source:
University of Oxford
Summary:
Scientists studying genetic evidence have discovered a new species of wolf living in Africa. The researchers have proved that the mysterious animal, known as the 'Egyptian jackal' and often confused with the golden jackal, is not a sub-species of jackal but a gray wolf.

Animal sighted in Eritrea, likely to be the new species of African wolf.
Credit: Jugal Tiwari

Scientists studying genetic evidence have discovered a new species of wolf living in Africa.

Related Articles


The researchers have proved that the mysterious animal, known as the 'Egyptian jackal' and often confused with the golden jackal, is not a sub-species of jackal but a grey wolf.

The discovery, by a team from Oxford University's Wildlife Conservation Research Unit (WildCRU), the University of Oslo, and Addis Ababa University, shows that grey wolves reached Africa around 3 million years ago before spreading throughout the northern hemisphere. The new wolf is a relative of the Holarctic grey wolf, the Indian wolf and the Himalayan wolf.

A report of the research appears this week in the journal PLoS One.

Professor David Macdonald, an author of the paper and Director of Oxford University's WildCRU, said: 'A wolf in Africa is not only important conservation news, but raises fascinating biological questions about how the new African wolf evolved and lived alongside not only the real golden jackals but also the vanishingly rare Ethiopian wolf, which is a very different species with which the new discovery should not be confused.'

Professor Claudio Sillero, also of the WildCRU and Chair of the IUCN's Canid Specialist Group, who has worked in Ethiopia for more than two decades, said: 'This discovery contributes to our understanding of the biogeography of Afroalpine fauna, an assemblage of species with African and Eurasian ancestry which evolved in the relative isolation of the highlands of the Horn of Africa. Rare Ethiopian wolves are themselves a recent immigrant to Africa, and split off from the grey wolf complex even earlier than the newly discovered African wolf.'

Dr Eli Rueness of the University of Oslo, the first author of the paper, said: 'We could hardly believe our own eyes when we found wolf DNA that did not match anything in GenBank.'

Professor Nils Chr. Stenseth, an author of the paper and the Chair of the Centre for Ecological and Evolutionary Synthesis (CEES) said: 'this study shows the strengths of modern genetic techniques: old puzzles may be solved.'

The team also found genetically very similar specimens to this new wolf in the highlands of Ethiopia, 2,500 km from Egypt, suggesting that the new species is not just found in Egypt.

Professor Afework Bekele at Addis Ababa University added: 'This shows how genetic techniques may expose hidden biodiversity in a relatively unexplored country like Ethiopia.'

Golden jackals are regarded by the International Union for Conservation of Nature as not threatened -- a "species of least concern" -- but the newly discovered African wolf may be much rarer. The team believe it is a priority for both conservation and science to discover its whereabouts and numbers.

Professor Sillero said: 'It seems as if the Egyptian jackal is urgently set for a name-change, and its unique status as the only member of the grey wolf complex in Africa suggests that it should be re-named 'the African wolf'.'


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Oxford. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Eli Knispel Rueness, Maria Gulbrandsen Asmyhr, Claudio Sillero-Zubiri, David W. Macdonald, Afework Bekele, Anagaw Atickem, Nils Chr. Stenseth. The Cryptic African Wolf: Canis aureus lupaster Is Not a Golden Jackal and Is Not Endemic to Egypt. PLoS ONE, 2011; 6 (1): e16385 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0016385

Cite This Page:

University of Oxford. "New African wolf discovered." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 31 January 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/01/110126171446.htm>.
University of Oxford. (2011, January 31). New African wolf discovered. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 27, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/01/110126171446.htm
University of Oxford. "New African wolf discovered." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/01/110126171446.htm (accessed November 27, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Classic Hollywood Memorabilia Goes Under the Hammer

Classic Hollywood Memorabilia Goes Under the Hammer

Reuters - Entertainment Video Online (Nov. 26, 2014) The iconic piano from "Casablanca" and the Cowardly Lion suit from "The Wizard of Oz" fetch millions at auction. Sara Hemrajani reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Pet Dogs to Be Used in Anti-Ageing Trial

Pet Dogs to Be Used in Anti-Ageing Trial

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 26, 2014) Researchers in the United States are preparing to discover whether a drug commonly used in human organ transplants can extend the lifespan and health quality of pet dogs. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
From Popcorn To Vending Snacks: FDA Ups Calorie Count Rules

From Popcorn To Vending Snacks: FDA Ups Calorie Count Rules

Newsy (Nov. 25, 2014) The US FDA is announcing new calorie rules on Tuesday that will require everywhere from theaters to vending machines to include calorie counts. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Feast Your Eyes: Lamb Chop Sent Into Space from UK

Feast Your Eyes: Lamb Chop Sent Into Space from UK

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Nov. 25, 2014) Take a stab at this -- stunt video shows a lamb chop's journey from an east London restaurant over 30 kilometers into space. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins