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This article is about an extinct species. For another species known as the African wolf, see Egyptian jackal.
Xenocyon lycaonoides
Temporal range: early to early middle Pleistocene
Xenocyon falconeri 2.JPG
Xenocyon falconeri
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Family: Canidae
Genus: Xenocyon
Species: X. lycaonoides
Binomial name
Xenocyon lycaonoides
Kretzoi, 1938

Canis africanus Pohle, 1928 [1]

Xenocyon lycanoides, also known as the African wolf, is an extinct canid from the Pleistocene of Eurasia. It was the only species in its genus. It lived from 1.8 Ma to 126,000 years ago, existing for approximately 1.674 million years. Its name means "strange dog with wolf form", from Xeno- meaning foreign or strange and cyon for dog. [1][2]


It preyed on antelope, deer, elephant calves, aurochs, baboons, wild horse and perhaps humans. It was probably the ancestor of the African wild dog (Lycaon pictus) and possibly the dhole (Cuon alpinus) of south-east Asia, the extinct Sardinian dhole (Cynotherium sardous).[1][3][4] and perhaps the extinct Javanese dogs (Megacyon merriami, Mececyon trinilensis).[5][6]

The generic assignment of X. lycaonoides is controversial. As an alternative to its placement in Xenocyon,[3] some recent authorities have placed the species in Lycaon (with the African Wild Dog, Lycaon pictus)[1] or in Canis (with wolves and jackals).[7]


  1. ^ a b c d Martínez-Navarro, B., and L. Rook (2003). "Gradual evolution in the African hunting dog lineage: systematic implications". Comptes Rendus Palevol 2 (8): 695–702. doi:10.1016/j.crpv.2003.06.002. 
  2. ^ Paleobiology Database: Thaumastocyonini Basic info.
  3. ^ a b Lyras, G.A.; Van Der Geer, A.E.; Dermitzakis, M.; De Vos, J. (2006). "Cynotherium sardous, an insular canid (Mammalia: Carnivora) from the Pleistocene Of Sardinia (Italy), and its origin". Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 26 (3): 735–745. doi:10.1671/0272-4634(2006)26[735:CSAICM]2.0.CO. 
  4. ^ Moulle, P.E.; Echassoux, A.; Lacombat, F. (2006). "Taxonomie du grand canidé de la grotte du Vallonnet (Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, Alpes-Maritimes, France)". L' Anthropologie (Paris) 110 (5): 832–836. doi:10.1016/j.anthro.2006.10.001. Retrieved 2008-04-28.  (in French)
  5. ^ Lyras, G.A.; Van Der Geer, A.E.; Rook, L. (2010). "Body size of insular carnivores: evidence from the fossil record". Journal of Biogeography 37 (6): 1007–1021. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2699.2010.02312.x. 
  6. ^ Van der Geer, A.; Lyras, G.; De Vos, J.; Dermitzakis M. (2010). Evolution of Island Mammals: adaptation and extinction of placental mammals on islands. Wiley-Blackwell (Oxford, UK) (ISBN 978-1-4051-9009-1. 
  7. ^ Werdelin, L.; Lewis, M.E. (2005). "Plio-Pleistocene Carnivora of eastern Africa: species richness and turnover patterns". Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society 144 (2): 121–144. doi:10.1111/j.1096-3642.2005.00165.x.