ABSTRACT

Taxonomy is the science of the classification of living things and comprises two main processes, defining taxa and naming them. In relation to the taxonomy of the Dingo, the scientific name has been unstable for many years. It has been referred to as Canis familiaris, Canis familiaris dingo, Canis lupus familiaris, Canis lupus dingo or Canis dingo. The nomenclature, however, has become even more unstable in recent years with advocacy for the name Canis dingo by some authors in spite of a lack of morphological differentiation or interfertility between Dingo and Domestic Dog hybrids. As a result, there is a need to review the taxonomy of the Dingo with the aim of confirming its correct scientific name in order to promote stability. Using the most widely accepted species concepts, we reviewed the taxonomy of the Dingo by objectively dissecting each of the proposed arguments for recognising the Dingo as a distinct species. We conclude that the most appropriate taxonomic name to use for the Dingo is Canis familiaris, and that this binomial is the appropriate taxonomic name for all ancient and modern dog breeds, their hybrids and wild-living derivatives. It is important to highlight that correct taxonomy is an important part of on-ground conservation and management of wildlife. However, the taxonomy used as a basis for management decisions needs to be based on a consistent and evidence-based scientific approach and not other factors.

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