Hey guys! How many of you remember back in 2011 when this article
was making headlines? It was such an amazing event -- just think about it -- a Gray wolf subspecies was living in Africa right under our noses! According to this article, the Golden jackal subspecies Canis aureus lupaster
was mtDNA tested and "proven" to be a Gray wolf subspecies through 100% bootstrap support (which, genetically speaking, roughly means rebuilding the phylogenetic tree through many reiterations and got the same result).
Today, this wonderful article
has been trending all over the place! But what does it mean? Well, just by reading the headline or the abstract I'm sure you can guess that it definitely relates to the 2011 article. Indeed, it does. This article is not so much a rebuttal or refutation as it is clarifying the fact that no, Canis "lupus" lupaster
is not a subspecies of gray wolf, but it is indeed its own species -- Canis anthus
. The designated name for this animal that these researchers suggest using is, as you've guessed from the articles floating about, African golden wolf. Dark-Hyena and I have vowed to not use this name as it promotes the misnomer "wolf." The native name for this animal is thoa
After all of this is said and done, what we must remember is this: coyotes are still the closest living relatives to wolves. Not Ethiopian wolves. Not African golden wolves. Coyotes.Personally, I think "wolf" is just a name environmentalists slap onto endangered canids just to give them good PR, regardless of whether or not they are closely related to grey wolves.