Gradual evolution in the African hunting dog lineage Systematic implications

Bienvenido MARTÍNEZ-NAVARRO & Lorenzo ROOK

en Comptes Rendus Palevol 2 (8) - Pages 695-702

Published on 31 December 2003

The hunting dog, Lycaon pictus, is one of the most representative species of the extant African fauna and one of the most efficient predators in the World. This species is actually a relict within Sub-Saharan Africa, but its lineage is well recorded in Eurasia during the Pliocene, and in Eurasia and Africa during the Early Pleistocene, while its record during the Middle Pleistocene is not well documented. Though postcranial skeletal remains dating from the Early Pleistocene show a tetradactyl forelimb, a characteristic feature of the extant lycaon, unique among canids, the upper and lower dentitions show gradual evolution from a primitive morphology in the Late Pliocene specimens to the highly specialized trenchant carnassials of the extant predatory species. We propose a new systematics for the lineage, grouping all the forms within the genus Lycaon.


Lycaon, Canidae, Plio-Pleistocene, Eurasia, Africa

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