The African and Eurasian golden jackals have long been considered the same species. With a similar size, build and general appearance, it’s easy to see why.
But a new study based on extensive DNA analysis has found the two are different species – and the African golden jackal is in fact a new species of wolf.
The researchers discovered the African and Eurasian golden jackals are distantly related but have evolved separately for more than one million years. The African golden jackal is actually more closely related to the grey wolf even though there are no grey wolves found in Africa.
Scientists propose renaming the species as the African golden wolf, along with the new scientific name of Canis anthus.
The African golden wolf marks the first new Canid species discovered in Africa in 150 years. The Canid family includes dogs, coyotes, wolves, foxes and jackals.