Canis

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For other uses, see Canis (disambiguation).
Canis
Temporal range: Miocene to Recent 9–0 Ma
[1]
Canis.jpg
Grey wolf (top), coyote and African golden wolf (top middle), Ethiopian wolf and golden jackal (bottom middle), black-backed jackal and side-striped jackal (bottom)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Family: Canidae
Subfamily: Caninae
Genus: Canis
Linnaeus, 1758
Extant Species

  1 C. lupus also includes domestic dogs, C. l. familiaris and dingos, C. l. dingo

Canis is a genus containing seven to 10 extant species, including the domestic dog, wolves, coyotes, and jackals, and many extinct species.

Etymology[edit]

The name Canis means "dog" in Latin. The word "canine" comes from the adjective form, caninus ("of the dog"), from which the term canine tooth is also derived.[2] The canine family has prominent canine teeth, used for killing their prey. The word canis is cognate to the Greek word kūon (Greek: Κύων) which means "dog".

Wolves, dogs and dingos[edit]

Skulls of dire wolf (C. dirus), gray wolf (C. lupus), red wolf (C. rufus), coyote (C. latrans), African golden wolf (C. anthus) and golden jackal (C. aureus)

Wolves, dogs, and dingoes are subspecies of Canis lupus. The original referent of the English word wolf, the Eurasian wolf, is called C. l. lupus to distinguish it from other wolf subspecies, such as the Indian wolf (C. l. pallipes), the Arabian wolf (C. l. arabs), or the Tibetan wolf (C. l. chanco).

Some experts have suggested some subspecies of C. lupus be considered Canis species distinct from C. lupus. These include Central Asia's Himalayan wolf, and the Indian wolf,[3][4] as well as the North America's red wolf and eastern wolf.[5]

The dingo (C. l. dingo), from Australasia, and the domestic dog (C. l. familiaris) are also considered subspecies of C. lupus, although they are not commonly referred to or thought of as "wolves".[6]

Coyotes, jackals, and wolves[edit]

A recent phylogenetic analysis[7] concluded that the species currently placed in genus Canis (blue shading) are not a monophyletic group.

C. lupus is but one of many Canis species called "wolves", most of which are now extinct and little known to the general public. One of these, however, the dire wolf, Canis dirus, has gained fame for the thousands of specimens found and displayed at the La Brea Tar Pits in Los Angeles, California. The dire wolf is an example of the word "wolf" being applied to a canid other than C. lupus. Other examples include Canis simensis, which has undergone many popular name changes, as its intermediate morphology had caused some to think of it as a jackal or a fox, but current taxonomic and genetic consensus is reflected in its "official name",[clarification needed] the Ethiopian wolf.

Canis species too small to attract the word "wolf" are called coyotes in the Americas and jackals elsewhere. Although these may not be more closely related to each other than they are to C. lupus, they are, as fellow Canis species, all more closely related to wolves and domestic dogs than they are to foxes, maned wolves, or other canids which do not belong to the genus Canis. The word "jackal" is applied to three distinct species of this group: the side-striped (C. adustus) and black-backed (C. mesomelas) jackals, found in sub-Saharan Africa, and the golden jackal (C. aureus), found across southwestern and south-central Asia, and the Balkans.

While North America has only one small-sized species, the coyote (C. latrans), it has become very widespread, moving into areas once occupied by wolves. They can be found across much of mainland Canada, in every state of the contiguous United States, all of Mexico except the Yucatán Peninsula, and the Pacific and central areas of Central America, ranging as far as western Panama.

African migration[edit]

In 2015, a study of mitochondrial genome sequences and whole genome nuclear sequences of African and Eurasian canids indicated that extant wolf-like canids have colonised Africa from Eurasia at least 5 times throughout the Pliocene and Pleistocene, which is consistent with fossil evidence suggesting that much of African canid fauna diversity resulted from the immigration of Eurasian ancestors, likely coincident with Plio-Pleistocene climatic oscillations between arid and humid conditions. When comparing the African and Eurasian golden jackals, the study concluded that the the African specimens represented a distinct monophyletic lineage that should be recognized as a separate species, Canis anthus (African golden wolf). According to a phylogeny derived from nuclear sequences, the Eurasian golden jackal (Canis aureus) diverged from the wolf/coyote lineage 1.9 million years ago but the African golden wolf separated 1.3 million years ago. Mitochondrial genome sequences indicated the Ethiopian wolf diverged from the wolf/coyote lineage slightly prior to that.[8]:S1

Gallery[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Canis Linnaeus 1758 in The Palaeobiology Database
  2. ^ Harper, Douglas. "canine". Online Etymology Dictionary. 
  3. ^ Aggarwal, R. K., Kivisild, T., Ramadevi, J., Singh, L. (2007). "Mitochondrial DNA coding region sequences support the phylogenetic distinction of two Indian wolf species" (PDF). Journal of Zoological Systematics and Evolutionary Research 45 (2): 163–172. doi:10.1111/j.1439-0469.2006.00400.x. 
  4. ^ Jhala, Y.; Sharma, D. K. (2004). "The Ancient Wolves of India" (PDF). International Wolf 14 (2): 15–16. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2009-04-21. 
  5. ^ Chambers SM, Fain SR, Fazio B, Amaral M (2012). "An account of the taxonomy of North American wolves from morphological and genetic analyses". North American Fauna 77: 1–67. doi:10.3996/nafa.77.0001. 
  6. ^ Wilson, D.E.; Reeder, D.M., eds. (2005). "Genus Canis". Mammal Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference (3rd ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. ISBN 978-0-8018-8221-0. OCLC 62265494. 
  7. ^ Lindblad-Toh, K.; Wade, C. M.; Mikkelsen, T. S.; Karlsson, E. K.; Jaffe, D. B.; Kamal, M.; Clamp, M.; Chang, J. L.; Kulbokas, E. J.; Zody, M. C.; Mauceli, E.; Xie, X.; Breen, M.; Wayne, R. K.; Ostrander, E. A.; Ponting, C. P.; Galibert, F.; Smith, D. R.; Dejong, P. J.; Kirkness, E.; Alvarez, P.; Biagi, T.; Brockman, W.; Butler, J.; Chin, C. W.; Cook, A.; Cuff, J.; Daly, M. J.; Decaprio, D. et al. (2005). "Genome sequence, comparative analysis and haplotype structure of the domestic dog". Nature 438 (7069): 803–819. Bibcode:2005Natur.438..803L. doi:10.1038/nature04338. PMID 16341006. 
  8. ^ doi:10.1016/j.cub.2015.06.060
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  9. ^ doi:10.1206/574.1
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