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Nyctereutes lockwoodi

December 15, 2009

nearly100new.jpgFrom the California Academy of Sciences:

This year, [Zeray] Alemseged and his colleagues report the only new mammal species on the Academy’s list: a raccoon dog (Nyctereutes lockwoodi) from 3.3 million years ago. Described from a nearly complete skull and fragments of others, this small, omnivorous mammal is a member of the canid family, which includes dogs, wolves, and foxes. Fossil raccoon dogs have been uncovered throughout Asia, Europe, and Africa, but only one species remains today (N. procyonoides, native to East Asia). This extant species gets its common name from its raccoon-like coloring but is not closely related to raccoons—its closest living relatives are thought to be foxes. It forms monogamous pair bonds and is the only member of the dog family to hibernate in the winter.

(HT to Afarensis who notes that the species is probably named after my late buddy and collaborator, Charlie Lockwood. As I haven’t seen the paper – apparently in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology – I cannot confirm that).

  1. afarensis, FCD
    December 15, 2009 at 11:57 am

    The paper is: “In press: Denis Geraads, Zeresenay Alemseged, René Bobé, Denné Reed. A new canid from the middle Pliocene of Dikika, Lower Awash, Ethiopia, J. Vert. Paleo.” I haven’t seen the paper either so I’m guessing on the species name…

  2. CMS
    December 17, 2009 at 1:36 am

    I’ve been thinking about Charlie a good deal these days. This makes me happy.

  3. FK
    December 17, 2009 at 3:49 am

    The Lockwood family will be thrilled with this! Thanks Zeray et al. for another great bit of science and for helping us keep Charlie’s memory alive.

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