Thursday, July 30, 2015

Time to Howl - it's a new wolf!

Most discoveries of large animals these days (though not all!) are made in the lab, where similar-looking, or "cryptic" species are distinguished from relatives that look much the same.  There are morphological as well as genetic differences behind this identification of a new wolf, though.  The population known as the African golden jackal is, instead, the African golden wolf.  To quote the attached article, "the authors were surprised to learn that African golden jackals are more closely related to grey wolves, even though there are no grey wolves in Africa and even though grey wolves and African golden jackals look dramatically different. "

You'll have to follow the link to see photos, since I try not to post copyrighted material, but it's a beautiful animal and another reminder that we don't know everything about the natural world. 

Here's an old public-domain illustration, which is quite beautiful itself.