Jackal

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Jackal
A black-backed jackal at Cape Cross, Namibia
A side-striped jackal
Scientific classification
Kingdom:Animalia
Phylum:Chordata
Class:Mammalia
Order:Carnivora
Family:Canidae
Genus:Included in Canis
Linnaeus, 1758
Species

golden jackal, Canis aureus
side-striped jackal Canis adustus
black-backed jackal Canis mesomelas

 
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Jackal
A black-backed jackal at Cape Cross, Namibia
A side-striped jackal
Scientific classification
Kingdom:Animalia
Phylum:Chordata
Class:Mammalia
Order:Carnivora
Family:Canidae
Genus:Included in Canis
Linnaeus, 1758
Species

golden jackal, Canis aureus
side-striped jackal Canis adustus
black-backed jackal Canis mesomelas

Although the word jackal has often been used historically to refer to many small- to medium-sized species of the wolf genus of mammals, Canis, today it most properly and commonly refers to three species: the black-backed jackal, the side-striped jackal of sub-Saharan Africa, and the golden jackal of northern Africa and south-central Eurasia. The black-backed and side-striped jackals are more closely related to each other than they are to the golden jackal, which is closer to wolves, dogs, and coyotes.

Jackals and coyotes (sometimes called the "American jackal"[1]) are opportunistic omnivores, predators of small- to medium-sized animals and proficient scavengers. Their long legs and curved canine teeth are adapted for hunting small mammals, birds, and reptiles, and their large feet and fused leg bones give them a physique well-suited for long-distance running, capable of maintaining speeds of 16 km/h (9.9 mph) for extended periods of time. Jackals are crepuscular, most active at dawn and dusk.

Their most common social unit is that of a monogamous pair which defends its territory from other pairs by vigorously chasing intruding rivals and marking landmarks around the territory with their urine and feces. The territory may be large enough to hold some young adults which stay with their parents until they establish their own territories. Jackals may occasionally assemble in small packs, for example, to scavenge a carcass, but they normally hunt either alone or in pairs.

Etymology[edit]

The English word "jackal" derives from Turkish çakal,[2] via Persian شغال shaghāl, ultimately from Sanskrit शृगाल śṛgāla.[3][4]

Taxonomy and relationships[edit]

The golden jackal is more closely related to wolves and coyotes than to other jackal species.

The taxonomy of the jackals has evolved with scientific understanding about how they are related on the canid family tree.

Similarities between jackals and coyotes led Lorenz Oken, in 1816, in the third volume of his Lehrbuch der Naturgeschichte, to place these species into a new separate genus, Thos, after the classical Greek word θώς "jackal", but his theory had little immediate impact on taxonomy at the time. Angel Cabrera in his 1932 monograph on the mammals of Morocco, questioned whether or not the presence of a cingulum on the upper molars of the jackals and its corresponding absence in the rest of Canis could justify a subdivision of the genus Canis. In practice, Cabrera chose the undivided-genus alternative and referred to the jackals as Canis instead of Thos.[5]

Oken's Thos theory was revived in 1914 by Edmund Heller, who embraced the separate genus theory. Heller's names and the designations he gave to various jackal species and subspecies live on in current taxonomy, although the genus has been changed from Thos to Canis.[5]

Modern research has clarified the relationships among the "jackal" species. Despite their similarities, jackals do not all stem from the same branch on the canid family tree. The side-striped jackal and black-backed jackal belong to a branch of canids that includes the Dhole and African wild dog, while the golden jackal, on the other hand, belongs to a branch which includes the Ethiopian wolf, the coyote, and Canis lupus, the grey wolf/domestic dog.[6]

The intermediate size and shape of the Ethiopian wolf (Canis simensis) has at times caused it to be regarded as a jackal, and so have been called the "red jackal" or the "simian jackal", but they have more often been considered and called "wolves".

Interbreeding with dogs[edit]

Breeding experiments in Germany with breeding poodles and golden jackals can produce hybrids. The results showed that, unlike wolf-dog hybrids, jackal-dog hybrids show a decrease in fertility, significant communication problems, and an increase of genetic disorders after three generations of interbreeding, much like coydogs..[7]

In Russia, Golden Jackals are one of the founder breeds of the Sulimov dog, a working dog owned exclusively by Aeroflot and used for bomb detection in airport security.

Folklore, mythology and literature[edit]

Species[edit]

SpeciesTrinomial authorityDescriptionRange
Side-striped jackal
Canis adustus
Side-striped Jackal.jpg
Sundevall, 1847Primarily residing in wooded areas, unlike other jackal species, it is the least aggressive of the jackals, rarely preying on large mammals.[10]Central and southern Africa
Golden jackal
Canis aureus
Golden jackal small.jpg
Linnaeus, 1758The heaviest of the jackals, it is the only species to subsist outside of Africa. Although often grouped with the other jackals, genetic and morphological research indicate the golden jackal is more closely related to the gray wolf and the coyote.[6][11]Northern Africa, southeastern Europe, the Middle East, western Asia, and South Asia
Black-backed jackal
Canis mesomelas

Canis mesomelas.jpg

Schreber, 1775The most lightly built jackal, this is considered to be the oldest living member of the genus Canis.[12] It is the most aggressive of the jackals, having been known to attack animal prey many times its own weight, and it has more quarrelsome intrapack relationships.[13]Southern Africa and eastern coast of Kenya, Somalia, and Ethiopia

In popular culture[edit]

See also[edit]

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ Coyote (2004) by E.M. Gese & M. Bekoff
  2. ^ Online Etymology Dictionary
  3. ^ American Heritage Dictionary - Jackal entry[dead link]
  4. ^ Online Etymology Dictionary - Jackal entry
  5. ^ a b Thos vs Canis
  6. ^ a b Lindblad-Toh; et al. (2005). "Genome sequence, comparative analysis and haplotype structure of the domestic dog". Nature 438 (7069): 803–819. doi:10.1038/nature04338. 
  7. ^ Feddersen-Petersen, Dorit (2004). Hundepsychologie (4th ed.). Stuttgart: Franck-Kosmos-Verlag. ISBN 3-440-09780-3.  (German)
  8. ^ Thiaw, Issa laye (23–24 June 2009), "Mythe de la création du monde selon les sages sereer", Enracinement et Ouverture — "Plaidoyer pour le dialogue interreligieux" (in French) (Dakar: Konrad Adenauer Stiftung): 45–50 
  9. ^ "Jackal" at NETBible Dictionary
  10. ^ "Side-Striped Jackal". Canids.org. Retrieved 2010-03-19. 
  11. ^ "Golden Jackal". Canids.org. Retrieved 2007-08-15. 
  12. ^ Macdonald, David (1992). The Velvet Claw. p. 256. ISBN 0-563-20844-9. 
  13. ^ Estes, Richard (1992). The behavior guide to African mammals: including hoofed mammals, carnivores, primates. University of California Press. ISBN 0-520-08085-8. 
  14. ^ Donner, Richard (Director) (1976). The Omen (DVD). Beverly Hills, California: Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment. OCLC 70171384. 
  15. ^ Taylor, Don and Hodges, Mike (Directors) (1978). Damien: Omen II (DVD). Beverly Hills, California: Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment. OCLC 45111331. 
  16. ^ Baker, Graham (Director) (1981). Omen III: The Final Conflict (DVD). Beverly Hills, California: Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment. OCLC 45273673. 

References[edit]

External links[edit]