Most people think of the dingo as some sort of wild dog. However, researchers led by the University of Sydney have finally found enough proof to classify the dingo as a separate species from the dog.
Because of the researchers’ findings, the Dingo has finally taken its rightful place as a distinct animal from Australia. While the country-continent seems to have a surplus of strange and unique animals, the researchers who worked on the study are still satisfied that the classification of the dingo has finally been settled for good. The researchers published their findings in the online journal the Journal of Zoology.
“Examining the 69 skull specimens and six skin specimens made available has enabled us to create a benchmark description of the dingo. Now any wild canid – dingo, dog, or hybrid of the two – can be judged against that classification,” said University of Sydney’s Dr. Mathew Crowther from the university’s School of Biological Sciences. Crowther is also the lead author of the study.
The dingo was first given the official scientific name Canis antarcticus back in 1792. However, the classification of the dingo was changed several times throughout the years. The confusion regarding the taxonomy of the dingo arose due to the fact that the dingo was first classified based on Arthur Phillip’s journal, which contained a short description and a drawing of the animal. Phillips was the founder of the original settlement in Australia located in the area now known as Sydney. He is also the first Governor of New South Wales.
“We can also conclusively say that the dingo is a distinctive Australian wild canid or member of the dog family in its own right, separate from dogs and wolves,” Crowther said. “The appropriate scientific classification is Canis dingo, as they appear not to be descended from wolves, are distinct from dogs and are not a subspecies.”