August 1, 2015: A new DNA study has showed that the “golden jackals” of East Africa, which were long considered by scientists as jackals, are wolves.
For a long time, researchers and scientists thought that the jackals from Eurasia and East Africa’s golden jackals are of the same species.
Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute’s researcher Dr. Klaus-Peter Koepfli told the Guardian that the new study has revealed that the two species from Africa and Eurasia are not as close to each other as perceived.
For the research, researchers have worked with details of the evolutionary history of both species, by analyzing the DNA samples of the golden jackal and extensive available genomic data of both species.
They found that the African golden jackals, which will probably now called the golden wolf, separated from the wolf and coyote ancestors roughly around 1.3 million years back.
Also, it was found the mitochondrial DNA of both the species differs by up to 6.7 percent, said a report in Science Magazine.
Researcher Koepli also said the researchers have found the potential to discover “hidden biodiversity”, which is one of the main takeaways from the study. He added more discoveries are also possible using “data sampled from whole genomes”.
The new study also said that previously, scientists related the Eurasian and African golden jackals as the same species, many as the physical traits are common in both, especially the skull and teeth.
However, many scientists including Dr. Philippe Gaubert who has done previous work on this said that he isn’t convinced with the study and stands by his research reported Huffington Post.