Archaeology / Cultural Heritage / History

[Archaeology] [twocolumns]

Anthropology / Human Evolution / Linguistics

[Anthropology] [twocolumns]

Palaeontology / Palaeoclimate / Earth Sciences

[Palaeontology] [twocolumns]

Evolution / Genetics / Biology


Anubis not an Egyptian Jackal but African Wolf

The Egyptian jackal, which may have been the inspiration for the Egyptian god Anubis, is actually not a jackal at all but a member of the wolf family. New genetic research in the open-access journal PLoS ONE finds that the Egyptian jackal is Africa's only member of the gray wolf family. The new wolf, dubbed by researchers as the African wolf, is most closely related to the Himalayan wolf.

2341904160068192481ZEwqtp_ph"We could hardly believe our own eyes when we found wolf DNA that did not match anything in GenBank," lead author, Dr Eli Rueness, said in a press release. GenBank is an open-access nucleotide database.

The genetic data also points to an early origin for the Egyptian jackal/African wolf. In fact, researchers believe the animal is older than well-known wolves of the northern hemisphere. According to the study, Indian, Himalayan, and the new African wolf, broke off from the gray wolf before it moved north, colonizing Europe, northern Asia, and the Americas, further subdividing into different subspecies. Ethiopian wolves, which are a unique species of canids, are older still.

The study does not appear to make a recommendation whether or not this new wolf should be considered a unique species in its own right or another subspecies of the grey wolf (Canis lupus). Currently, gray wolf subspecies number in the thirties, and distinction between species and subspecies continues to be debated for a number of them.

However the new African wolf is classified, researchers argue the discovery must change how the animal is viewed in conservation. The authors call for the African wolf to be assessed individually, especially considering evidence that the animal is rare. The animal is not protected in Egypt and is often persecuted as it is considered a threat to livestock.

In good news, the researchers discovered that the African wolf, previously Egyptian jackal, is actually present in the Ethiopian highlands, expanding its known range considerably.

"This study shows the strengths of modern genetic techniques: old puzzles can be solved," Nils Chr. Stenseth, Chair of the Centre for Ecological and Evolutionary Synthesis (CEES) and an author of the paper, says.

Author: Jeremy Hance | Source: Mongabay [January 26, 2011]


Post A Comment
  • Blogger Comment using Blogger
  • Facebook Comment using Facebook
  • Disqus Comment using Disqus


  1. Great informative article. Fascinating information. Thanks! Sammy Sutton

  2. Did someone just give you a PHD? Wolfs Jackals and Coyotes are all in the same FAMILY of "Caninae" and in the same subfamily of True Dogs. Did you spend 250,000.00 in an education just to troll people and feed misinformation?

  3. As I have said repeatedly... don't shoot the messenger... we only report the news :-)

  4. Excellent! A further update to this as reported in the Washington Post Aug 3, 2015. Scientists said last week that a comprehensive genetic analysis found that these populations are made up of two entirely distinct species, with those in Africa different from the others.

    The scientific name for the golden jackal is Canis aureus. The researchers proposed renaming those in Africa Canis anthus, or the African golden wolf.

    “Our results showed that African and Eurasian golden jackals were distinct across all the genetic markers we tested, including data from whole genomes, suggesting these are independently evolving lineages,” said Klaus-Peter Koepfli, a conservation and evolutionary geneticist at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute.

    Koepfli said the genetic data indicated the two lineages are not even closely related, with the African population more closely related to gray wolves and coyotes.
    The researchers determined that the African golden jackal lineage split from the lineage including gray wolves and coyotes about 1.3 million years ago, while the Eurasian golden jackal lineage split about 600,000 years earlier.

  5. "Egypt" or KEMET is a country withIN "Africa", so, why does this article attempt to make a point that there is a "distinction" with this animal? It is a canine within "Africa" or more appropriately known as ALKEBULAN. And thankfully, the ancient Kemetians recognized the that the canine's behavior and ultimately principle represent(s) instinct and purified mind. The canine represents the human mind at the level of instinctual behavior, impulsive, not intellect or intuition. Basically, instinct and sense awareness as well as the ability to correctly discern between what's "right" and "wrong". This is why Anubis appears in the ancient Kemetic scene of the weighing of the (Ani's) heart, on the Kemetic papyrus along with Djehuty (the scribe, recorder of deeds and sins), MÁAT (the deity of "order" and "balance").

  6. It would seem more relevant to call it the Egyptian Wolf then, as it's the only wolf in northern Africa. Clearly the Egyptians were the first to document it before DNA profiling!

  7. I think Anubis is a jackal and Wapwawet is the wolf,right?


Exhibitions / Travel

[Exhibitions] [bsummary]

Natural Heritage / Environment / Wildlife

[Natural Heritage] [list]

Astronomy / Astrobiology / Space Exploration

[Universe] [list]