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antelope,name applied to any of a large number of hoofed, ruminant mammals of the cattlecattle,
name for the ruminant mammals of the genus Bos, and particularly those of the domesticated species, Bos taurus and B. indica. The term oxen, broadly used, refers also to closely related animals, such as the buffalo and the bison.
..... Click the link for more information. family (Bovidae), which also includes the bison, buffalo, sheep, and goats. Found in Africa and Eurasia, they range in size from pygmy antelopes, 12 in. (30 cm) high at the shoulder, to the giant elandeland
, large, spiral-horned African antelope, genus Taurotragus, found in brush country or open forest at the edge of grasslands. Elands live in small herds and are primarily browsers rather than grazers. The two species of eland are the largest of all living antelopes.
..... Click the link for more information. , with a shoulder height of over 6 ft (180 cm). Most types stand 3 to 4 ft (90–120 cm) high. The horns of antelopes, unlike the antlers of deer, are unbranched, consist of a chitinous shell with a bony core, and are not shed. Africa is the home of most antelopes.
The spiral-horned antelopes are the bushbucksbushbuck,
either of two small, delicate, spiral-horned antelopes of sub-Saharan Africa, the imbabala (Tragelaphus sylvaticus) and the kéwel (T. scriptus), formerly classified as a single species.
..... Click the link for more information. (including the nyalas and the sitatunga), kuduskudu
, either of two oshort-haired African antelopes of genus Tragelaphus. The greater kudu, T. strepsiceros, has a reddish brown coat with thin vertical white stripes on its sides.
..... Click the link for more information. , bongobongo
, spiral-horned antelope, Tragelaphus eurycerus, found in jungles and thick bamboo forests of equatorial Africa. Shy, elusive animals, bongos never emerge into the open and are seldom seen; they browse singly or in small groups.
..... Click the link for more information. , and more distantly related eland. These oxlike animals have patterns of light and dark stripes on the body, and most have them on the face as well. The duikersduiker
, name for members of a group of small, light antelopes, found in thick brush and forest over most of Africa. All stand under 25 in. (64 cm) high at the shoulder.
..... Click the link for more information. are a group of small, straight-horned antelopes of forest and thick brush country. Marsh antelopesmarsh antelope,
name for members of a group of deerlike African antelopes, usually found in reeds or tall grasses near water. The males of this group have horns that curve back, up, and forward; females are hornless. Most marsh antelopes travel in small herds.
..... Click the link for more information. are deerlike animals of marshes and reedbeds; they include the waterbuck, kob, puka, lechwe, and reedbuck.
, large African antelope, genus Connochaetes. Its heavy head and humped shoulders resemble those of a buffalo, while the compact hindquarters are like those of a horse. The gnu has a beard, a short, erect mane, and a long, flowing tail.
..... Click the link for more information. (or wildebeest) and the closely related hartebeesthartebeest
, large African antelope, Alcelaphus bucelaphus. The hartebeest resembles a horse with horns. It has a very long face and a small hump between the shoulders; its coat is fawn or reddish and its ringed horns curve up and inward in a U shape.
..... Click the link for more information. and damalisksdamalisk
, name for African antelopes of the genus Damaliscus, closely related to the hartebeest. Damalisks are slenderly built and rather horselike in form; they are common grazing animals of the African grasslands.
..... Click the link for more information. are horselike antelopes of the grasslands. The name oryxoryx
, name for several small, horselike antelopes, genus Oryx, found in deserts and arid scrublands of Africa and Arabia. They feed on grasses and scrub and can go without water for long periods. Oryxes are light in color with dark patches on the face and legs.
..... Click the link for more information. is applied to smaller horselike animals of the desert and scrublands, including the gemsbok and the beisa; the addaxaddax
, large, desert-dwelling antelope. It is a single species, Addax nasomaculatus. The addax is yellowish-white in color, has a brown mane and throat fringe, and may stand as high as 42 in. (106 cm) at the shoulder.
..... Click the link for more information. is a related desert antelope. The sable antelope and the closely related roan antelope have enormous, backward-curved, scimitar-shaped horns. The term gazellegazelle,
name for the many species of delicate, graceful antelopes of the genera Gazella, Eudorcas, and Nanger, inhabiting arid, open country. Most gazelles are found only in Africa, but several species range over N Africa and SW Asia; the Persian, or
..... Click the link for more information. has been used for a number of small, delicate antelopes with spreading horns, inhabiting deserts and grassy plains, such as the pale brown impalaimpala,
species of antelope, Aepyceros melampus, found in the savannah and bush country of E and S Africa. It is the antelope most commonly depicted in illustrations and in motion pictures.
..... Click the link for more information. , the antelope best known from motion pictures; the impala is now classified in a different subfamily. True gazelles belong to the genera Gazella, Eudorcas, and Nanger. Antelopes related to the gazelles as well as the gerenuk, dibatag, springbok, and blackbuckblackbuck,
small antelope, Antilope cervicapra, found in semidesert plains and open forest throughout India. Males are dark brown above and white below, with white rings around the eyes; they stand about 32 in. (81 cm) at the shoulder and weigh about 90 lb (41 kg).
..... Click the link for more information. . The blackbuck, found in India, was the first antelope to be described by zoologists, and has the generic name Antilope.
The delicate pygmy antelopes include the royal antelope, beira, klipspringer, oribi, grysbok, steenbok, dik-dik, and suni. Males have tiny, straight horns. The nilgai and the four-horned antelope are found in SE Asia. Other antelopes include the saigasaiga,
, Eurasian antelope, Saiga tatarica, found in steppes, grasslands, and semidesert regions in Kazakhstan, Mongolia, and Kalmykia, Russia. Noted for its large, flexible, and inflatable humped nose, which filters out dust and warms inhaled winter air, the saiga has a
..... Click the link for more information. of central Asia, which has an enlarged nasal structure, and the chiru, or Tibetan antelope. The North American pronghornpronghorn
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
..... Click the link for more information. is sometimes called an antelope, but it belongs to a separate family (Antilocapridae) more closely related to the giraffe.
Antelopes 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.
..... Click the link for more information. , subphylum Vertebrata, class Mammalia, order Artiodactyla, family Bovidae.
a varied group of artiodactyl animals of the family Bovidae, excluding cattle, buffalo, goats, and sheep. The term antelope refers to all the subfamilies of the family Bovidae; the term pronghorn refers to the particular family Antilocapridae. Antelopes are animals of diverse form and dimensions, from the Madoqua saltiana, the size of a hare, to the eland, which is as large as a cow. In most species of antelopes, only the males have horns, which can be straight and short or long and bent in an arc or spiral. Their coloring ranges from light sand-colored to gray-blue or almost black, with markings in the form of stripes or patches of various colors and forms. The majority of antelopes inhabit Africa and the southern part of Asia. They live in herds and feed on grassy vegetation or, more rarely, on the leaves of trees. There are several groups of antelope, some of which are closer in origin to cattle, and others, to goats and sheep. The only member of the genus Antilope proper is the Indian Antilope cervicapra, or black buck, an animal with spiraling horns. On the African steppes and savannas live the large bovine antelopes, the gnu and bubalis. The African semidesert and desert are inhabited by horse antelope and oryx. Living hidden in the African forests are the royal antelope, Madoqua saltiana, oribi, dik dik, and other pygmy antelope, as well as the duiker. The deserts, steppes, and forest-steppes of Africa and Asia are the homes of a broad group of gazelles; the goitered gazelle and zeren, which live within the boundaries of the USSR, belong to this group. A special group of antelope is represented by the African marsh antelope, which inhabits marshy ground and riverside thickets. The African spiral-horned antelopes (eland, kudu, bushbuck) and the Indian four-horned antelope and nilgai are closer in origin to buffalo and cattle than to other antelopes. The chamois, which lives in the mountains of Europe, the Caucasus, and Transcaucasia, and the saiga, a steppe antelope, are more closely linked with sheep and goats. Many antelope are hunted for their flesh, hides, and horns. The numbers of most antelope species are markedly decreasing. Hunting of many species is partially or entirely prohibited.
REFERENCESSokolov, I.I. “Opyt estestvennoi klassifikatsii polorogikh.” Trudy Zoologicheskogo instituta Akademii Nauk SSSR, 1953, vol. 14.
Mlekopitaiushchie Sovetskogo Soiuza, vol. 1. Edited by V. G. Geptner and N. P. Naumov. Moscow, 1961.
Sclater, P. L., and M. R. O. Thomas. The Book of Antelopes, vols. 1–4. London, 1894–1900.
I. I. SOKOLOV