MAR 05, 2019 7:28 PM PST

Should Australia Recognize the Dingo as a Distinct Species?

WRITTEN BY: Anthony Bouchard

Dingoes have long been considered a type of wild dog to the residents of Australia, when in fact this isn’t entirely accurate.

Researchers argue that Australia should recognize the dingo as its own species.

Image Credit: Pixabay

New research published just this week in the journal Zootaxa instead underscores the idea that the dingo is its own species entirely. The findings are a considerable departure from Australian common knowledge, and the mistaken nomenclature could have severe implications for the dingo as we know it.

As the researchers explain, the government of Western Australia recently conducted a study in which it concluded that the humble dingo was ‘non-fauna,’ and this would have permitted Australian residents to hunt and kill the animals even without a license. Conversely, the latest study proposes the argument that dingoes should be considered native fauna.

“Dingoes play a vital ecological role in Australia by outcompeting and displacing noxious introduced predators like feral cats and foxes,” enlightened study co-author Corey Bradshaw from Flinders University. “When dingoes are left alone, there are fewer feral predators eating native marsupials, birds, and lizards.”

Related: How to tell if your dog likes you

As it would seem, the dingo is an essential piece of a larger puzzle that makes up the entire Australian ecosystem. Compartmentalizing dingoes into the non-fauna category and empowering citizens to reduce their numbers carelessly could and would wreak havoc on the said ecosystem, the researchers argue.

Previous analyses have drawn attention to the differences in skin and skull specimens between dingoes and other types of canids, including domestic and feral dogs, and even wolves. The latest study brings additional supporting arguments into the picture, including examples of natural selection, among other things. Again, this brings up the importance of declassifying dingoes as a type of non-fauna.

"The dingo has been geographically isolated from all other canids, and genetic mixing driven mainly by human interventions has only been occurring recently," added study lead author Dr. Bradley Smith from Central Queensland University.

"Further evidence in support of dingoes being considered a 'wild type' capable of surviving in the absence of human intervention and under natural selection is demonstrated by the consistent return of dog-dingo hybrids to a dingo-like canid throughout the Australian mainland and on several islands."

Related: The reintroduction of wolves to Yellowstone National Park was a great success, researchers say

Natural selection appears to favor the dingo even when they interbreed with various types of canids, and to the researchers, this is a good enough reason to take a closer look at the situation.

Given all the evidence put forth thus far, it should be interesting to see how the latest study impacts the dingo’s classification in Australia, if at all.

Source: EurekAlert, Zootaxa

About the Author
  • Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
You May Also Like
JAN 10, 2020
Health & Medicine
JAN 10, 2020
Are Edibles the Safest Option for Marijuana Users?
Cannabis edibles are growing in popularity, while cannabis products become more widely accepted across the country and beyond. However, it looks like scien...
JAN 27, 2020
Earth & The Environment
JAN 27, 2020
Study Suggests That Vineyards can Adapt to Climate Change
Researchers from the University of British Columbia (UBC) have some good news for wine lovers. Delicate wine grapes are highly susceptible to changes in te...
FEB 18, 2020
Plants & Animals
FEB 18, 2020
This Wasp Turns Cockroaches Into Zombies for its Larvae
We can’t think of anyone that likes cockroaches, but one insect in particular seems to scout them out specifically for its own bizarre reasons. The e...
MAR 02, 2020
Earth & The Environment
MAR 02, 2020
New coral gardens discovered in ocean's depths
Bremer Canyon Marine Park sits in the Indian Ocean off the southern coast of Western Australia, a 4472 km² marine protected area teeming with marine b...
MAR 22, 2020
Plants & Animals
MAR 22, 2020
Narwhals With Larger Tusks Have a Better Chance of Finding a Mate
Narwhals are often referred to as the ‘unicorns of the sea’ because of the unicorn-esque tusks they grow on their heads. There’s no quest...
MAR 31, 2020
Plants & Animals
MAR 31, 2020
This Spider Goes Fishing for Food
Most spiders are land animals, but the fishing spider tends to spend most of its time dwelling on watery surfaces. Fishing spiders can walk on water, utili...
Loading Comments...