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The black-backed jackal

25 August 2014

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The Order Carnivora to which all the jackals belong was first described by Bowditch in 1821 when it was thought that all its members were flesh-eaters. The name is derived from the Latin words caro (flesh) and voro (to eat). It was only learned later that many of these carnivores, such as the black-backed jackal, were actually omnivores that also ate vegetation. It is impossible to find characteristics that clearly separate the cat-like and dog-like carnivores, but the most useful one is the skull morphology. However, the doglike Suborder Caniformia which includes the jackals has no septum to divide the ear bulla into two chambers as in the catlike Suborder Feliformia. Other differences in the ear characteristics are also found, but the members of the Suborder Feliformia are more homogeneous in morphology than the members of the Suborder Caniformia.

The name jackal is derived from the... (Become a subscriber for more)

References:

Bothma. J. du P. 1998. Carnivore ecology in arid lands. Berlin: Springer Verlag.

Bothma, J. du P. & C. Walker 1999. Larger carnivores of the African savannas. Pretoria: J. L. van Schaik.

Skinner, J. D. & C. T. Chimimba (Eds) 2005. The mammals of the southern African subregion, third edition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 486 – 491.

Wozencraft, W. C. 2005. Order Carnivora. In: D E Wilson & D M Reeder (Eds), Mammal species of the world – a taxonomic and geographic reference, third edition. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 532 – 628.

Article by Prof J du P Bothma

 

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