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Temporal range: Miocene to Recent 9–0 Ma 
|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)|
Canis is a genus of canids containing seven to 10 extant species. Species of this genus are distinguished by their moderate to large size, their massive, well developed skulls and dentition, long legs, and comparatively short ears and tails.
The generic name Canis means "dog" in Latin. The term "canine" comes from the adjective form, caninus ("of the dog"), from which the term canine tooth is also derived. 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".
In 1758, the taxonomist Linaeus published in Systema Naturae a categorization of species which included the species forming the Canis genus. The list included the dog-like carnivores: the domestic dog, wolves, foxes and jackals.
Wolves, dogs and dingos
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, as well as the North America's red wolf and eastern wolf.
Coyotes, jackals, and wolves
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.
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 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.:S1
Eastern wolf (Canis lycaon) (often includes latrans admixture)
Red wolf (Canis rufus) (includes latrans admixture)
Coyote (Canis latrans)
Dire wolf (Canis dirus) (extinct)
African golden wolf (Canis anthus)
Golden jackal (Canis aureus)
Ethiopian wolf (Canis simensis)
Black-backed jackal (Canis mesomelas)
Side-striped jackal (Canis adustus)
Timeline and relationships (Tedford & Wang)
|Wikispecies has information related to: Canis|
- Canis Linnaeus 1758 in The Palaeobiology Database
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- Koepfli, Klaus-Peter; Pollinger, John; Godinho, Raquel; Robinson, Jacqueline; Lea, Amanda; Hendricks, Sarah; Schweizer, Rena M.; Thalmann, Olaf; Silva, Pedro; Fan, Zhenxin; Yurchenko, Andrey A.; Dobrynin, Pavel; Makunin, Alexey; Cahill, James A.; Shapiro, Beth; Álvares, Francisco; Brito, José C.; Geffen, Eli; Leonard, Jennifer A.; Helgen, Kristofer M.; Johnson, Warren E.; o'Brien, Stephen J.; Van Valkenburgh, Blaire; Wayne, Robert K. (2015). "Genome-wide Evidence Reveals that African and Eurasian Golden Jackals Are Distinct Species". Current Biology 25 (16): 2158. doi:10.1016/j.cub.2015.06.060. PMID 26234211.
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