From National Geographic:
The golden jackal, which lives in East Africa and Eurasia, is actually two distantly related species—and one of them is a new species of wolf, a new study says. (Also see “Wolves Identified by Unique Howls, May Help Rare Species.”)
Dubbed the African golden wolf, it’s the first new species of canid—a group that includes wolves, coyotes, and jackals—discovered in 150 years. Africa is also home to two other wolf species, the gray wolf and Ethiopian wolf. (Read “Africa’s Last Wolves” in National Geographic magazine.)
Though golden jackals look mostly the same—the Eurasian animals are slightly smaller than the African ones, with a narrower skull and slightly weaker teeth—in-depth analysis of their DNA revealed two species that have evolved separately for millennia.
“I was very surprised,” said study leader Klaus-Peter Koepfli, a biologist with the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Front Royal, Virginia. More.
Aw, don’t be surprised. It’s just another Darwin-incidence. Happens a lot, we hear.
See also: Evolution appears to converge on goals—but in Darwinian terms, is that possible?
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