At the moment you are absolutely correct Dinkybird...
Currently there is one Genus
within the subfamily Protelinae and one species withing that genus (Proteles
), but there other animals in its family (Hyaenidae) including the spotted striped and brown hyenas.
Jackels are in the family Canidae which includes the wolves, dogs, coyotes, foxes and of course jackals. So no its not related to Jackels.
There was a veldfire of a debate on the aardwolfs classification around the beginning of the 90's. Due to their insectivourous diet and the fact that the Aardwolf has 5 toes on its forepaws (as apposed to the other hyaenids) it was proposed to place them in a Family of their own. Its a mixed bunch because the only thing scientists are better at than naming things, is arguing about it afterwards.
Its more widely accepted that Aardwolf are in Family
Hyaenidae, which includes the sub families
Hyaeninae hyenas) and Protelinae (aardwolf). CITES classification from 23 June 2005 lists it in the Hyaenidae family and they are usually quite up to date with the current classification tweaks of each species. Classification comes in many guises and each has its shortfalls. At the moment it is in the family hyanidae...
Morphologic classification gets problematic with polymorphic species such as Papilio dardanus
the mocker swallowtail butterfly where the female displays over 27 morphs, worst still is the sterile casts of colonial animals, such as the difference in pincer size worker ants to the soldier types...So how much difference would we use
Even molecular dna classification has problems as some bird species (larks in particular) show a genetic difference of up to 20% WITHIN a single species, and chimps and humans only differ by 1 or 2 percent...So again, how much difference
While looking at physical attributes to hyaenidae we see some reasons for and against inclusion:
- elongated rostrum
- powerful jaws/teeth with heavy crowns for bone-crushing
- well-developed carnassials
- digitigrade, no retractile claws
- coat spotted or striped
- head and shoulders larger than hindquarters, sloping back
The reduced 5th toe on the forelimbs is actually more akin to that of Viverridae which include civet, genet and meerkat...The presence of double chambered auditory bullae in such families shows recent taxonomic branching between the groups and while it has specialised somewhat for termite feeding its 5th toe harks back to a common ancestor which other hyaenids have subsequently lost.
There are problems like this all over (red panda for example) and the fact is no one classification scheme has been agreed upon so it gets revised pretty much daily...
The general concensus is use the classification which fits your needs at the time.
We dont even have a great widely accepted way of even defining species
We all know and love the definition of two organisms similar in morphology able to reproduce and produce fertile offspring (a mule is sterile) but this never works for botanists as many plants produce fertile hybrids. The prolem with exotic mallard ducks breeding with our lovely yellow billed ducks is another problem as they are different species and their hybrid offspring are certainly fertile etc. logistics of moving a southern african rhino to north african populations to see if itll produce viable offspring is also not possible so decisions have to be made drawing from many definitions which results in these messes
What IS a nice animal is our aardvark, which is the only member in its ORDER (Tubulidentata), FAMILY AND GENUS...unique indeed.
Sorry for going off on a tangent I just think it might be an interesting read for anyone bored at work...