Mammalian Biology

, Volume 67, Issue 2, pp 91–96 | Cite as

Evidence of two genetically deeply divergent species of warthog, Phacochoerus africanus and P. aethiopicus (Artiodactyla: Suiformes) in East Africa

  • E. RandiEmail author
  • J. -P. D’huart
  • V. Lucchini
  • R. Aman
Original investigation


Two species of warthogs (Phacochoerus), differing by the number of functional incisors, were described in the Holocene fossil record: the common warthog (P. africanus), widespread in sub-Sahar-an Africa, and the Cape, or desert warthog (P. aethiopicus), which was considered extinct since 1896, but was recently rediscovered in East Africa by morphological analyses. Mitochondrial and single-copy nuclear DNA sequences show that common and desert warthogs belong to two deeply divergent monophyletic lineages, that might have originated in the last part of the Pliocene. The finding of two genetically divergent extant species of warthogs highlights the importance of molecular methods applied to the knowledge and conservation of biodiversity in Africa, to uncover the tempo and mode of its species evolution.


Phacochoerus aethiopicus P. africanus mtDNA PRE-1 East Africa 

Nachweis von zwei genetisch stark divergierenden Arten des Warzenschweins, Phacochoerus africanus und P. aethiopicus (Artiodactyla: Suiformes) in Ostafrika


Zwei Arten des Warzenschweins (Phacochoerus), die sich in der ZahL funktioneller Schneidezähne unterscheiden, existieren in holozänen Fossilfunden: das über das Afrika südlich der Sahara weit verbreitete Gemeine Warzenschwein (P. africanus) und das Kap- oder Wüsten-Warzenschwein (P. aethiopicus), das man seit 1896 ausgestorben glaubte aber kürzlich in Ostafrika wiederent-deckte. Sequenzen der mitochondrialen DNA und von Einzelgenen der Kern-DNA zeigen, daß das Gemeine und das Wüsten-Warzenschwein zu zwei stark divergierenden monophyletischen Linien ge-hören, die am Ende des Pliozäns entstanden sein mögen. Die Wiederentdeckung von zwei genetisch unterschiedlichen rezenten Arten des Warzenschweins hebt die Bedeutung molekulaler Methoden für die Kenntnis und Erhaltung der Biodiversität in Afrika hervor.


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Copyright information

© Deutsche Gesellschaft für Säugetierkunde 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • E. Randi
    • 1
    Email author
  • J. -P. D’huart
    • 2
  • V. Lucchini
    • 1
  • R. Aman
    • 3
  1. 1.Istituto Nazionale per la Fauna SelvaticaOzzano dell’Emilia (BO)Italy
  2. 2.WWF BelgiumBrusselsBelgium
  3. 3.National Museum of KenyaNairobiKenya

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