The dhole is 1 of only 3 canid species with specialized dental adaptations for a hypercarnivorous diet, and have a thicker muzzle, shorter jaw, and 2 less molar teeth than other canids.

The dhole is one of the most extreme canids given its unique morphological and behavioral traits, such as having specialized teeth for hypercarnivory. It is one of only three canid species with specialized dental adaptations for the exclusively hypercarnivorous diet.

It is set apart from other canids in that it has an unusually thick muzzle, short jaw, and one less molar tooth on each side of its lower jaw. Dholes have only two molars on each side of their lower jaw, instead of three. Other members of the family Canidae have a total of 42 teeth.

Of the canids, African wild dogs are arguably most similar to dholes. Both species have specialized dental morphology for obligate hypercarnivory, which is rather unique among canids. Phylogenetic research shows both species are in the same monophyletic group, and otherwise both species are similar in body size, reproduction, social behavior, and feeding behavior.

Sources: (Chacon, 2000; Hance, 2015; Johnsingh, 1982; Kamler, et al., 2015; Lindblad-Toh, et al., 2005; San Diego Zoo Global; Van Valkenburgh, 1991; Venkataraman, 1995)
Image: Falconaumanni


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