Przewalski's horse

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Przewalski's horse

(pshəväl`skēz), wild horsehorse,
hoofed, herbivorous mammal now represented by a single extant genus, Equus. The term horse commonly refers only to the domestic Equus caballus and to the wild Przewalski's horse.
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 of Asia, Equus przewalski, E. ferus przewalski, or E. caballus przewalski, the only extant wild horse that, in the purebred state, is not descended from the domestic horse. Smaller than most domestic horses, it has a large head and bulging forehead. It is dun-colored, with an upright crest of dark hair on its head and neck, a dark stripe along the backbone, and a dark, plumed tail. The animal's former range probably extended from W Mongolia to N Xinjiang, China.

Przewalski's horse can interbreed with the domestic horse, and some authorities regard it as a subspecies of the domestic horse (E. caballus), although it has a different number of chromosomes. Because interbreeding with Mongol horses may have begun centuries ago, it is possible that even the original specimens of Przewalski's horse to be described were actually of mixed descent.

The horse was first recognized as a separate species by Nikolai Mikhailovich PrzhevalskyPrzhevalsky, Nikolai Mikhailovich
, 1839–88, Russian geographer and explorer in central and E Asia. He made five major expeditions—one to the Ussuri area in the Russian Far East (1867–68) and four to Mongolia, Xinjiang, and Tibet (1870–85).
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, a Russian explorer and geographer, in the 1870s. In the 1960s the horse became extinct in the wild, largely due to competition with domestic livestock for grazing land and water and to hunting for horsemeat, but many specimens survived in zoos, where they breed well. Since 1992 the horse has been reintroduced with some success to several locations in Mongolia and China, using animals originally bred in European zoos.

Tarpan is the name for members of another race of the same species, E. ferus gmelini or E. caballus gmelini, which formerly ranged over the steppes of E Europe and W Asia, but has been extinct since the last century. Attempts have been made to breed back a tarpanlike horse from domestic horses believed to have been interbred with tarpans.

Wild horses 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 Perissodactyla, family Equidae.

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References in periodicals archive ?
The governor also informed Consular Takhi that the province is developing infrastructure, including a seaport.
The students first completed the easy problems about the Takhi horse, then the hard problems about the right whale, and ended with the medium-difficulty problems about the giant panda.
Przewalski's extraordinary discovery prompted a 'horse-rush' that marked the beginning of the takhi's decline.
By the start of the Second World War, encroachment by nomadic herdsmen into takhi pastureland had forced the remaining horses to the fringes of the Gobi Desert, where starving Kazakh soldiers retreating from Chinese forces slaughtered the herds.
She'd just returned from three weeks in the field erecting a fence that would keep the takhi in and other animals out.
During the 1980s, experts realised that protracted captivity was leading to signs of 'creeping domestication' in the takhi. In 1990, the Mongolian Association for the Conservation of Nature and the Environment and the Dutch Foundation for the Preservation and Protection of the Przewalski Horse decided to reintroduce a number of takhi to Mongolia.
Takhi (Equus fetus przewalskii) are a completely different species.
For more than 10,000 years, takhi roamed the steppe that once stretched from the Iberian Peninsula (southwest tip of Europe) to Manchuria on the east coast of China.
This restricted the takhi's movement and reduced their habitat even more.
A group of Dutch scientists in the late 1970s discovered there were only 300 takhi remaining in zoos and private collections around the world.
In Mongolia, the International Takhi Group (ITG) will operate transitional release enclosures to guard new arrivals against exposure to natural infections.
CONTACT: International Takhi Group, (+41)1-216-4213,; The Wilds, (740)638-5030, www.thewil