African Jackal: Symbol of Good Judgment

African Jackal: Symbol of Good Judgment

The African Jackal, an enigmatic and intelligent creature, has traversed the vast landscapes of the African continent for centuries. From its earliest evolutionary origins to its role in contemporary ecosystems, the jackal’s unique qualities as a predator and scavenger have cemented its position as a key player in maintaining the delicate balance of the African savanna.

We explore the evolutionary journey, behavioural characteristics, and cultural significance of the African jackal.

Its remarkable ability to discern when rotting flesh is safe to consume has not only shaped its role in ecosystems but also led to its revered status in Egyptian African Kemetic Spirituality, symbolized by its presence in depictions of the Hall of Judgment weighing the scales of Justice or Maat in the Egyptian Book Of The Dead.

Evolutionary Origins and Adaptations

The African jackal, belonging to the Canidae family, has evolved over millions of years to adapt to the diverse environments across the continent. Its compact size, pointed ears, and bushy tail are distinctive features that aid its survival. The ability to navigate varied habitats, from grasslands to deserts, showcases the jackal’s remarkable adaptability.

Predator and Scavenger: Discerning the Palatable

One of the African jackal’s most intriguing characteristics is its unique approach to scavenging. Unlike many other scavengers, jackals possess the extraordinary ability to bury rotting flesh for later consumption. This behavior is rooted in their uncanny aptitude for discerning when carrion is at an optimal stage of decomposition, safe for consumption without causing sickness.

This discernment sets the jackal apart as a species with a remarkable sense of smell and intuition, enabling it to thrive in ecosystems where food sources are both scarce and unpredictable. The jackal’s role as a scavenger contributes to the delicate balance of the African savanna by aiding in the removal of decaying matter.

Cultural Significance in Kemetic Spirituality

The jackal’s extraordinary ability to discern edible carrion aligns with the concept of Maat in Egyptian Kemetic spirituality.

Maat represents justice, balance, and cosmic order in ancient Egyptian beliefs. Depicted as a Neteru Deity with an ostrich feather on her head, Maat symbolizes the equilibrium that must be maintained for a harmonious world.

The African Jackal, specifically the black-backed jackal (Canis mesomelas), is closely associated with the weighing of the heart ceremony in the afterlife, as depicted in the Egyptian Book of the Dead.

In this famous scene, the heart of the deceased is weighed against the feather of Maat. The jackal, often depicted alongside the scales of justice, is tasked with observing this process, signifying its role as a discerning observer of balance and truth.

Ecological Role: Balancing Ecosystems

Beyond its spiritual symbolism, the African jackal plays a critical ecological role in maintaining balance within African ecosystems. Its scavenging behavior helps prevent the spread of disease by disposing of carrion that could otherwise become breeding grounds for pathogens.

By controlling the presence of rotting flesh, jackals contribute to the overall health of their environment, creating a symbiotic relationship with other species.

Challenges and Conservation Efforts

Despite its valuable ecological role, the African jackal faces challenges such as habitat loss and conflicts with humans due to perceived livestock predation. These factors, coupled with the degradation of natural habitats, threaten the jackal’s population in certain regions.

Conservation efforts aim to mitigate these challenges, recognizing the importance of maintaining the jackal’s role in preserving ecosystem balance.


The African jackal’s journey from its evolutionary origins to its sacred symbolism in Kemetic spirituality is a testament to its unique qualities as a predator and scavenger. Its exceptional ability to discern when carrion is safe for consumption reflects its deep connection to balance, harmony, and cosmic order – principles central to ancient Egyptian beliefs.

As a predator, scavenger, and symbol of discernment, the African jackal embodies the delicate equilibrium that must be upheld for ecosystems to thrive. Its role as a keeper of balance in both the physical and spiritual realms reinforces its enduring significance in African cultures and ecosystems alike. By understanding and appreciating the multifaceted nature of the African jackal, we gain insight into the intricate web of life that has shaped the continent’s landscapes and cultures for millennia.