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Four-horned antelope
Scientific classification Red Pencil Icon.png
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Artiodactyla
Family: Bovidae
Subfamily: Bovinae
Tribe: Boselaphini
Knottnerus-Meyer, 1907

and see text.

Boselaphini is a tribe of bovines. It contains only two extant genera, each with a single extant species.



The Boselaphini or four-horned antelope tribe are the last survivors of a form very similar to that of the ancestors of the entire subfamily. The oldest fossil members of the tribe, such as Eotragus , date to the Miocene about 18 to 20 million years ago. Such fossils possessed horns very similar to those of males belonging to the two living species, although in some cases, they were also present in females. [1]

Both extant species have relatively primitive anatomical and behavioural characteristics and the females have no horns. They are native to the rapidly diminishing forests of India, and tend to avoid open plains. The nilgai has been introduced into southern Texas where a population of a little under 15,000 animals provides some long-term insurance for its survival.[ citation needed ]


Extant species

Nilgai (Boselaphus tragocamelus) male.jpg Boselaphus Blainville, 1816
  • nilgai (Boselaphus tragocamelus)
Bondla-12.jpg Tetracerus Leach, 1825


The following are the genera classified under the tribe. Genera marked with † are extinct. [2]

Tribe Boselaphini

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Even-toed ungulate</span> Order of mammals

The even-toed ungulates are ungulates—hoofed animals—which bear weight equally on two of their five toes: the third and fourth. The other three toes are either present, absent, vestigial, or pointing posteriorly. By contrast, odd-toed ungulates bear weight on an odd number of the five toes. Another difference between the two is that many other even-toed ungulates digest plant cellulose in one or more stomach chambers rather than in their intestine as the odd-toed ungulates do.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Antelope</span> Term referring to an even-toed ruminant

The term antelope is used to refer to many species of even-toed ruminant that are indigenous to various regions in Africa and Eurasia.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Bovinae</span> Subfamily of mammals

Bovines comprise a diverse group of 10 genera of medium to large-sized ungulates, including cattle, bison, African buffalo, water buffalos, and the four-horned and spiral-horned antelopes. The evolutionary relationship between the members of the group is still debated, and their classification into loose tribes rather than formal subgroups reflects this uncertainty. General characteristics include cloven hooves and usually at least one of the sexes of a species having true horns. The largest extant bovine is the gaur.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Bovidae</span> Family of mammals belonging to even-toed ungulates

The Bovidae comprise the biological family of cloven-hoofed, ruminant mammals that includes cattle, bison, buffalo, antelopes, and goat-antelopes. A member of this family is called a bovid. With 143 extant species and 300 known extinct species, the family Bovidae consists of 11 major subfamilies and thirteen major tribes. The family evolved 20 million years ago, in the early Miocene.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Giraffidae</span> Family of mammals belonging to even-toed ungulates

The Giraffidae are a family of ruminant artiodactyl mammals that share a common ancestor with deer and bovids. This family, once a diverse group spread throughout Eurasia and Africa, presently comprises only two extant genera, the giraffe and the okapi. Both are confined to sub-Saharan Africa: the giraffe to the open savannas, and the okapi to the dense rainforest of the Congo. The two genera look very different on first sight, but share a number of common features, including a long, dark-coloured tongue, lobed canine teeth, and horns covered in skin, called ossicones.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Four-horned antelope</span> Small antelope from Asia (Tetracerus quadricornis)

The four-horned antelope, or chousingha, is a small antelope found in India and Nepal. Its four horns distinguish it from most other bovids, which have two horns. The sole member of the genus Tetracerus, the species was first described by French zoologist Henri Marie Ducrotay de Blainville in 1816. Three subspecies are recognised. The four-horned antelope stands nearly 55–64 centimetres (22–25 in) at the shoulder and weighs nearly 17–22 kilograms (37–49 lb). Slender with thin legs and a short tail, the four-horned antelope has a yellowish brown to reddish coat. One pair of horns is located between the ears, and the other on the forehead. The posterior horns are always longer than the anterior horns, which might be mere fur-covered studs. While the posterior horns measure 8–12 centimetres (3.1–4.7 in), the anterior ones are 2–5 centimetres (0.79–1.97 in) long.

Nilgai Largest living Asian antelope

The nilgai is the largest Asian antelope and is ubiquitous across the northern Indian subcontinent. It is the sole member of the genus Boselaphus and was described by Peter Simon Pallas in 1766. The nilgai stands 1–1.5 m (3.3–4.9 ft) at the shoulder; males weigh 109–288 kg (240–635 lb), and the lighter females 100–213 kg (220–470 lb). A sturdy thin-legged antelope, the nilgai is characterised by a sloping back, a deep neck with a white patch on the throat, a short crest of hair along the neck terminating in a tuft, and white facial spots. A column of pendant coarse hair hangs from the dewlap ridge below the white patch. Sexual dimorphism is prominent – while females and juveniles are orange to tawny, adult males have a bluish-grey coat. Only males possess horns, 15–24 cm (5.9–9.4 in) long.

<i>Antilope</i> Genus of mammals

Antilope is a genus of twisted-horn bovid that contains a single living species, the blackbuck of South Asia. Two extinct species are also known.

Pecora Infraorder of mammals

Pecora is an infraorder of even-toed hoofed mammals with ruminant digestion. Most members of Pecora have cranial appendages projecting from their frontal bones; only two extant genera lack them, Hydropotes and Moschus. The name “Pecora” comes from the Latin word pecus, which means “horned livestock”. Although most pecorans have cranial appendages, only some of these are properly called “horns”, and many scientists agree that these appendages did not arise from a common ancestor, but instead evolved independently on at least two occasions. Likewise, while Pecora as a group is supported by both molecular and morphological studies, morphological support for interrelationships between pecoran families is disputed.

Antilocapridae Family of mammals belonging to even-toed ungulates

The Antilocapridae are a family of artiodactyls endemic to North America. Their closest extant relatives are the giraffids with which they comprise the superfamily Giraffoidea. Only one species, the pronghorn, is living today; all other members of the family are extinct. The living pronghorn is a small ruminant mammal resembling an antelope.

<i>Taurotragus</i> Genus of mammals

Taurotragus is a genus of large antelopes of the African savanna, commonly known as elands. It contains two species: the common eland T. oryx and the giant eland T. derbianus.

Bovini Tribe of cattle

The tribe Bovini, or wild cattle, are medium to massive bovines that are native to North America, Eurasia, and Africa. These include the enigmatic, antelope-like saola, the African and Asiatic buffalos, and a clade that consists of bison and the wild cattle of the genus Bos. Not only are they the largest members of the subfamily Bovinae, they are the largest species of their family Bovidae. The largest species is the gaur, weighing up to 1,500 kg (3,300 lb).

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Tragelaphini</span> Tribe of antelopes

The tribe Tragelaphini, or the spiral-horned antelopes, are bovines that are endemic to sub-Sahara Africa. These include the bushbuck, kudus, and the elands. The scientific name is in reference to the mythical creature the tragelaph, a Chimera with the body of a stag and the head of a goat. They are medium-to-large, tall, long-legged antelopes characterized by their iconic twisted horns and striking pelage coloration patterns.

<i>Eotragus</i> Extinct genus of mammals

Eotragus is an extinct genus of early bovid. Species belonging to the genus inhabited Europe, Africa, and Asia during the Miocene some 20-18 million years ago. It is related to the modern nilgai and four-horned antelope. It was small and probably lived in woodland environments.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Gazelle</span> Genus of mammals

A gazelle is one of many antelope species in the genus Gazella. This article also deals with the seven species included in two further genera, Eudorcas and Nanger, which were formerly considered subgenera of Gazella. A third former subgenus, Procapra, includes three living species of Asian gazelles.

Protragocerus is an extinct genus of antelope from the late Serravallian Age of the Miocene Epoch. Fossils of the genus have been found in France, India, and Saudi Arabia. It is classified under the tribe Boselaphini, subfamily Bovinae of the family Bovidae. The genus was first established by the French paleontologist Charles Depéret in 1887.

<i>Duboisia santeng</i> Extinct Ice-Age antelope from Indonesia

Duboisia santeng or Dubois' antelope is an extinct antelope-like bovid that was endemic to Indonesia during the Pleistocene. It went extinct during the Ionian stage of the Pleistocene, about 750.000 years ago. Duboisia santeng was first described by the Dutch paleoanthropologist and geologist Eugène Dubois in 1891.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Domestication of the goat</span>

Goat evolution is the process by which domestic goats came to exist through evolution by natural selection. Wild goats — medium-sized mammals which are found in noticeably harsh environments, particularly forests and mountains, in the Middle East and Central Asia — were one of the first species domesticated by modern humans, with the date of domestication generally considered to be 8,000 BCE. Goats are part of the family Bovidae, a broad and populous group which includes a variety of ruminants such as bison, cows and sheep. Bovids all share many traits, such as hooves and a herbivorous diet and all males, along with many females, have horns. Bovids began to diverge from deer and giraffids during the early Miocene epoch. The subfamily Caprinae, which includes goats, ibex and sheep, are considered to have diverged from the rest of Bovidae as early as the late Miocene, with the group reaching its greatest diversity in the ice ages.

<i>Tragoportax</i> Extinct genus of bovid

Tragoportax is an extinct mammal genus belonging to the Bovidae. It lived in the upper Miocene and its fossil remains have been found in Europe, Asia and Africa.

Boselaphus namadicus is an extinct species of bovid that lived in South Asia from the Late Pliocene to the Mid Pleistocene.


  1. Kostopoulos, D.S. (2005). "The Bovidae (Mammalia, Artiodactyla) from the late Miocene of Akkaşdaği, Turkey" (PDF). Geodiversitas. 27 (4): 747–791. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2006-12-02.
  2. Haaramo, M. "Mikko's Phylogency Archive (Boselaphini)" . Retrieved 25 March 2011.
  3. Leslie, D.M. & Sharma K. (2009). "Tetracerus quadricornis (Artiodactyla: Bovidae)". Mammalian Species (843): 1–11. doi: 10.1644/843.1 .