Dingos are a True Species

Submitted: Thursday, Mar 07, 2019 at 16:38
ThreadID: 137908 Views:3233 Replies:6 FollowUps:7
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Dingoes are a 'fair dinkum' separate species needing better protection, researchers say
By Matt Coleman and Gary-Jon Lysaght

Dingoes should be more protected because they are a "fair dinkum" separate species that cannot be "lumped in" with domestic or wild dogs, according to researchers who have been looking into how the animals should be classified.
Key points:

Researchers say dingoes are part of "an ancient 'dog' lineage"
They looked at factors including skull structure and behaviour
At the same time the SA Government is repairing key dingo control fences in the state's north

In a paper published in animal taxonomy journal Zootaxa, the researchers analysed factors such as the shape of the animal, its skull structure, genetics, vocal communication and behaviour to conclude that dingoes are a distinct species.

It said, for example, that while barking occurred in all Canis species, dingoes bark when under threat and as part of "howl choruses" but not during "affiliative interactions" or playful interactions.

"This contrasts with domestic dogs, which bark in seemingly all situations, during agonistic interactions, when alarmed, at feeding times, or when they are socially isolated," the paper said.

They concluded that dingoes were a member of "an ancient 'dog' lineage, diverging some 5,000–10,000 years before the present, and prior to intense agriculture and the diversification of modern dogs".

"There is no more sort of ambiguity regarding its status as a seperate species," paper co-author Professor Corey Bradshaw from Flinders University said.

"People have lumped it in with regular dogs and … with the generic wild dog.

"It really is a fair dinkum Australian species and has been for many thousands of years."

Other differences put forward include the animal's independence — that they do not need any human intervention to survive in their habitat — whereas feral or wild dogs require some sort of human intervention "to persist in the landscape".
A dingo in outback Australia.
Photo: Not everyone has agreed in the past that dingoes are their own species. (Supplied: Invasive Animals Cooperative Research Centre)

"They're … very much their own thing," Professor Bradshaw explained.

"They also have a very strong pack structure that is quite stable when left alone."

While firm in their conclusions, the researchers acknowledged in the paper than the dingo had possibly the most ambiguous taxonomic identity of any Australian mammal.
Disputed dingo classification has legal implications

The Australian Museum recently concluded the dingo was not a separate species but a "feral population of an ancient breed of domestic dog that was brought to Australia by humans" about 4,000 years ago.

The dingo's taxonomic status was a factor in 2018 when the WA Government was considering changes to its biodiversity and conservation laws.

Under WA law, dingoes not being considered to be different to wild dogs meant they could be trapped or killed without permission in many places.

Professor Bradshaw said being a separate species justified them being treated like any other native species — with the protections that flow from that.

"Australia has the worst extinction rate for mammals … and our biodiversity is in a lot of trouble," he said.

"You can actually get a higher hectare profit if you have healthy dingo populations on your property.

"Where they're allowed to persist, [dingoes] can actually reduce kangaroo densities which then leaves more grass for cattle pastoralists."

The research paper has come out at the same time the South Australian Government is looking to repair a key dingo control measure.

Sections of the famous dog fence in the state's far north need repair.
Dog Fence
The dog fence was originally put up in the 1880s to protect south-east Australia.

It was built to keep dingoes and wild dogs out of sheep grazing country and is one of the longest structures in the world.

The SA Government has estimated that the repairs will cost up to $25 million.
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Reply By: skulldug - Thursday, Mar 07, 2019 at 22:43

Thursday, Mar 07, 2019 at 22:43

Thanks for the information. I can only assume that you refer to the recent post about dingos being culled on Fraser Island.

I’d prefer to get to the point. The replies that Danna received exposed the bigotry of some posters here.

Travellers should welcome diverse views and debate them with respect.


AnswerID: 624280

Follow Up By: Member - Bigfish - Friday, Mar 08, 2019 at 06:51

Friday, Mar 08, 2019 at 06:51
I agree .
FollowupID: 897764

Reply By: AlbyNSW - Friday, Mar 08, 2019 at 07:01

Friday, Mar 08, 2019 at 07:01
“You can actually get a higher hectare profit if you have healthy dingo populations on your property.”

Don’t you just love how some people make a ridiculous statement like that. They are of course talking about pastoralists, I wonder where you get the trained dingoes from that know not to go into the adjoining paddock with the livestock in it.

My son used to have a purebred dingo as a pet and it was beautiful and got on with their other dogs and humans just fine.
Their traits and manorisms are quite different to a dog. They can articulate their neck so that their head is against their body and the first joint of their front foot articulates the same as a human wrist whereas a dogs movement is much more restricted to forward and back
AnswerID: 624282

Follow Up By: Genny - Friday, Mar 08, 2019 at 10:58

Friday, Mar 08, 2019 at 10:58
They specifically state production is improved by thinning out competing kangaroos.

I'm pretty uncertain how to educate dingoes not to predate upon domestic livestock. Obviously these ones didn't attend the required university courses for education.
Wild dog attacks or this one Wild dog attacks

Now I KNOW the articles specifically refer to "wild dogs", and some will argue dingoes are not wild dogs, but a separate species. The fact that dingoes can and do cross with domestic dogs to produce fertile young gives the lie to that. At best they are a separate BREED of dog. The physical differences stipulated above have no more relevance than the physical differences that make a pug a pug, not a great dane.

Cherry picking the results of the study, we can take away thinning out kangaroos improves productivity.

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Follow Up By: Alloy c/t - Friday, Mar 08, 2019 at 11:01

Friday, Mar 08, 2019 at 11:01
Have a look , or do some research on 'lambing rates' out near Barcaldine - Longreach - Muttaburra , you may just be very very surprised , since 'dog proof' cluster fencing has been installed , lambing rates have jumped up from 10-16% to over 80-90% , why ? Simple , Wild Dogs , are then eradicated by 1080 - traps and shooting , very very few actual Dingos have been found inside the 'clusters' ...
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Follow Up By: AlbyNSW - Friday, Mar 08, 2019 at 12:51

Friday, Mar 08, 2019 at 12:51
The technicality of whether they are dingoes or wild dogs probably doesn’t matter that much to the issue of livestock being lost to them.

I am pretty sure that farmers would prefer the Roos to the carnivores
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Follow Up By: Iza B - Friday, Mar 08, 2019 at 15:26

Friday, Mar 08, 2019 at 15:26
Areas that host a large population of dingos have a much lower number of feral cats compared to areas with very few dingos.

Farmer friend with a 100,000 acres west of Roma loves dingos. Kangaroos and emu have been eating grass he wants for his cattle.

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Follow Up By: Alloy c/t - Friday, Mar 08, 2019 at 16:31

Friday, Mar 08, 2019 at 16:31
No Alby , ask any grazier , roos eat grass , grass is $$$$$ in the bank , every study of roo population shows that there are more roos now than when white settlement started in Australia , reason ? Water points put in for cattle and sheep .
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Follow Up By: AlbyNSW - Friday, Mar 08, 2019 at 18:21

Friday, Mar 08, 2019 at 18:21
Alloy yes I know Roos eat grass but carnivores eat livestock. Both are not desirable for the grazier
FollowupID: 897794

Reply By: Member - McLaren3030 - Friday, Mar 08, 2019 at 07:41

Friday, Mar 08, 2019 at 07:41
Interestingly, I have just read an article from The Brisbane Times quoting a Qld University study that advocates calling Dingos an Australian Wolf. Perhaps this was where Danna got his/her idea from. The article also mentioned that dingos are unique in that they can articulate their neck & front paw wrist joints far more than any other canine species.


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AnswerID: 624283

Reply By: Peter_n_Margaret - Friday, Mar 08, 2019 at 09:38

Friday, Mar 08, 2019 at 09:38

OKA196 motorhome

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Reply By: Iza B - Friday, Mar 08, 2019 at 15:31

Friday, Mar 08, 2019 at 15:31
Recently finished a weekend workshop focused on control of wild dogs. Great painswere taken to ensure that participants knew there is a large difference between dingos and wild dogs. Spoke to a contract shooter while there. He only shoots wild dogs. Once the wild dogs are gone, no instances of apparent dog attacks are reported for months and until wild dogs move into the area again.

AnswerID: 624305

Reply By: Member - shane r1 - Friday, Mar 08, 2019 at 20:40

Friday, Mar 08, 2019 at 20:40
When I spotted this post I thought “oh no another dingo post!”
And I was right everone’s got an opinion!
and most or all aren’t actually having to deal with the dingo’s or “wild dogs (doesn’t matter what you call them) themselves.
AnswerID: 624316

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