markhor


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markhor

(mär`kôr), wild goat, Capra falconeri, found in the rugged mountains of central Asia, from S Russia to the W Himalayas. Largest of the goats, the male may stand over 40 in. (100 cm) at the shoulder and weigh over 200 lb (90 kg). The coat is short and reddish brown in summer; in winter it is long, silky, and gray. Males have long, thick beards. The distinctive corkscrew-shaped horns are extremely thick and heavy. Markhors live in small herds of between 4 and 30 individuals, grazing up to the snow line. The isolated populations of the different mountain ranges constitute distinct races; most are near extinction because of extensive hunting. In Russia and the Central Asian Republics, where the markhor has been protected since the 1930s, its numbers have increased to about 1,000. The markhor is 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 Bovidae.

Markhor

 

(Caprafalconeri), an even-toed ungulate of the Bovidae family. The horns twist like a corkscrew or screw (hence the name in Russian of vintorogii kozel, spiral-horned goat). A long mane marks the neck and chest of the males. The markhor is rusty gray, with the old males turning muddy white. The body is up to 1.7 m in length, with a height at the shoulders of 90 cm; the animal weighs up to 90 kg and some-times more. The markhor is found in the western Himalayas, Kashmir, Western Tibet, and Afghanistan. In the USSR the markhor is encountered only in the mountains along the Pyandzh River and in the Kugitangtau and Babatag ranges. Several subspecies have developed which differ in the shape of the horns. The markhor is a typical mountain animal, inhabiting the steep slopes of gorges, rocks, and cliffs. Little is known about its way of life. It is the forerunner of certain breeds of domesticated goats. In the USSR hunting of the markhor is prohibited.

REFERENCES

Tsalkin, V. I. “Vintorogii kozel v SSSR.” Uch. zap. MGU, 1945, issue 83.
Mlekopitaiushchie sovetskogo soiuza, vol. 1. Edited by V. G. Geptner and N. P. Naumov. Moscow, 1961.

I. I. SOKOLOV

References in periodicals archive ?
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The markhor, Capra falconeri, is a magnificent twist-horned goat found in several races primarily in Pakistan arid Afghanistan.