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hoofed herbivorous mammal, Antilocapra americana, of the W United States and N Mexico. Although it is often called the American, or prong-horned, antelope, the pronghorn is the only living member of the Antilocapridae and is more closely related to the giraffe; antelopes are African and Eurasian members of the cattle family (Bovidae).

The pronghorn is about the size of a goat, standing 3 ft (90 cm) high at the shoulder and weighing about 100 lb (45 kg). The coat is light brown with white underparts, two white throat stripes, and a white rump patch. The tail is short, and the ears are long and pointed. Both sexes have horns, which consist of a horny sheath and a bony core, like those of antelopes; unlike antelope horns, those of the pronghorn bear a single branch, or prong, and lose the outer sheath each year.

Pronghorns live in small bands on open plains. Chiefly browsers, they feed largely on sagebrush and other shrubs, but also eat grasses. The swiftest of North American mammals, they attain speeds of 60 mi (96 km) per hr, but are poor jumpers. Their principal enemies, besides humans, are wolves and coyotes. Before the settlement of North America by Europeans pronghorns were comparable in numbers to buffalo; by the beginning of the 20th cent., however, they had been nearly exterminated by hunting. They are now protected on reservations, where they have made a good recovery.

Pronghorns are classified in the phylum ChordataChordata
, phylum of animals having a notochord, or dorsal stiffening rod, as the chief internal skeletal support at some stage of their development. Most chordates are vertebrates (animals with backbones), but the phylum also includes some small marine invertebrate animals.
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, subphylum Vertebrata, class Mammalia, order Artiodactyla, family Antilocapridae.


See J. van Wormer, The World of the Pronghorn (1968).

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(vertebrate zoology)
Antilocapra americana. An antelopelike artiodactyl composing the family Antilocapridae; the only hollow-horned ungulate with branched horns present in both sexes.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
References in periodicals archive ?
Effects of midsummer drought on mortality of doe pronghorn (Antilocapra americana).--Southwest.
Antelopes are found in Africa, Europe, and Asia, but the pronghorns found in and around Yellowstone and Grand Teton (Antilocapra americana) are a marvel of design found on no other land mass in the world.
population of about 200 pronghorn antelope (Antilocapra americana) that
Among these species are the masked bobwhite (Colinus virginianus ridgwayi), cactus ferruginous pygmy-owl (Glaucidium brasilianum cactorum), Sonoran pronghorn (Antilocapra americana sonoriensis), Mexican and narrow-headed gartersnakes (Thamnophis eques and T rufipunctatus), Gila topminnow (Poeciliopsis occidentalis), Tarahumara frog (Lithobates tarahumarae), lowland leopard frog (Lithobates yavapaiensis), and Chiricahua leopard frog.
When not pursuing Antilocapra americana, the author can be found at home in Drummond, Montana.
In addition, the room holds a wapiti or American elk (Cervus canadensis), most likely taken in Wyoming, in 1930; and two pronghorn American-antelopes (Antilocapra americana), both taken in Idaho 1941, a hunt recalled in Hemingway's essay "The Shot" (True, April 1951).
The Sonoran pronghorn is one of five subspecies of pronghorn (Antilocapra Americana)--North America's fastest land animal and the world's second-fastest after the cheetah.
Binational conservation along the U.S.-Mexico border has played an important role for the conservation of threatened species (Ceballos, 1997) like the Sonoran pronghorn (Antilocapra Americana sonorensis), bighorn sheep (Ovis canadensis), thick-billed parrot (Rhynchopsitta pachyrhyncha) and black-tailed prairie dog (Cynomys ludovicianus).
Abstract.--Recent pronghorn (Antilocapra americana) translocations to southern California and the establishment of captive populations of endangered desert pronghorn have revived interest in the historical occurrence of pronghorn in the Californias.
A goatlike animal often mistakenly called an antelope, the Sonoran pronghorn is one of five subspecies of Antilocapra americana, the only species in the Antilocapridae family.