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Temporal range: Miocene to present
Buffalo and Oxpeckers (7234007684).jpg
African buffalo
(Syncerus caffer)
Scientific classification Red Pencil Icon.png
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Artiodactyla
Family: Bovidae
Subfamily: Bovinae
J. E. Gray, 1821

Bovines (subfamily Bovinae) comprise a diverse group of 10 genera of medium to large-sized ungulates, including domestic 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.


In many countries, bovid milk and meat is used as food by humans. Cattle are kept as livestock almost everywhere except in parts of India and Nepal, where they are considered sacred by most Hindus. Bovids are used as draft animals and as riding animals. Small breeds of domestic bovid, such as the Miniature Zebu, are kept as pets.

Bovine Hide

Bovine leather is a great material to use for making a variety of products. Its small fibers create a sturdy, durable material. The skin is soft and flexible and has a grain hand that is highly desirable. While the price of bovine leather goods is higher than many other materials, it is well worth the investment. The benefits of bovine-leather products include their affordability and easy cleaning. Read on to learn more about the advantages and disadvantages of this material.

Systematics and classification

Bovine skull. Bovine skull 02-FMVZ USP-20.jpeg
Bovine skull.


Bovine is derived from Latin bos, "ox", through Late Latin bovinus. Bos comes from the Indo-European root *gwous, meaning ox.

Related Research Articles

Aurochs extinct species of large cattle that inhabited Asia, Europe, and North Africa

The aurochs is an extinct cattle species that was first described in 1827. With a shoulder height of up to 180 cm (71 in) in bulls and 155 cm (61 in) in cows, it was one of the largest herbivores in the Holocene; it had massive elongated and broad horns that reached 80 cm (31 in) in length. It was native to Eurasia and North Africa. The last aurochs died in 1627 in Jaktorów forest in Poland. Prehistoric depictions are known from a late Pleistocene site in Egypt and Neolithic sites in southern Europe. Contemporary reconstructions of the aurochs are based on fossil skeletons found in Europe.

<i>Bos</i> Genus of wild and domestic cattle

Bos is the genus of wild and domestic cattle. Bos can be divided into four subgenera: Bos, Bibos, Novibos, and Poephagus, but including these last three divisions within the genus Bos without including Bison in the genus is believed to be paraphyletic by many workers on the classification of the genus since the 1980s. The genus has five extant species. However, this may rise to eight if the domesticated varieties are counted as separate species, and ten if the closely related genus Bison is also included. Most but not all modern breeds of domesticated cattle are believed to have originated from the extinct aurochs. Many ancient breeds are thought to have originated from other species. Zebus and taurine cattle are thought to descend from ancient Indian and Middle Eastern aurochs, respectively.

<i>Bubalus</i> Genus of mammals

Bubalus is a genus of Asiatic bovines that was proposed by Charles Hamilton Smith in 1827. Bubalus and Syncerus form the subtribe Bubalina, the true buffaloes.

Tamaraw Species of buffalo

The tamaraw or Mindoro dwarf buffalo is a small hoofed mammal belonging to the family Bovidae. It is endemic to the island of Mindoro in the Philippines, and is the only endemic Philippine bovine. It is believed, however, to have once also thrived on the larger island of Luzon. The tamaraw was originally found all over Mindoro, from sea level up to the mountains, but because of human habitation, hunting, and logging, it is now restricted to only a few remote grassy plains and is now a critically endangered species.

Four-horned antelope 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.

Bovid hybrid

A bovid hybrid is a hybrid of two different members of the bovid family.

<i>Pelorovis</i> Extinct genus of cattle

Pelorovis is an extinct genus of African wild cattle, which first appeared in the very beginning of the Pleistocene, 2.5 million years ago, and became extinct at the end of the Late Pleistocene about 12,000 years ago or even during the Holocene, some 4,000 years ago.

<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).

Boselaphini Tribe of mammals

Boselaphini is a tribe of antelopes belonging to the subfamily Bovinae of the family Bovidae. It contains only two extant genera.

Tragelaphini 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>Syncerus antiquus</i> Extinct species of buffalo

Syncerus antiquus, is an extinct species of bovid from the Pleistocene of Africa. It was one of the largest species in its family, potentially weighing up to 2,000 kilograms (4,400 lb). Due to this fact, it is sometimes known as the African giant buffalo. Syncerus antiquus became extinct at the end of the Late Pleistocene about 12,000 years ago or even during the Holocene, some 4,000 years ago.

Bovidae in Chinese mythology

Bovidae in Chinese mythology include various myths and legends about a group of biologically distinct animals which form important motifs within Chinese mythology. There are many myths about the animals modernly classified as Bovidae, referring to oxen, sheep, goats, and mythological types such as "unicorns". Chinese mythology refers to those myths found in the historical geographic area of China, a geographic area which has evolved or changed somewhat through history. Thus this includes myths in Chinese and other languages, as transmitted by Han Chinese as well as other ethnic groups. There are various motifs of animals of the Bovidae biological family in Chinese mythology. These have often served as allusions in poetry and other literature. Some species are also used in the traditional Chinese calendar and time-keeping system.

<i>Bubalus murrensis</i> Extinct species of mammal

Bubalus murrensis also known as European water buffalo, is an extinct bovine that lived in Europe during the Pleistocene. Its closest living relatives are the wild water buffalo (Bubalus arnee), the tamaraw (Bubalus mindorensis), the lowland anoa (Bubalus depressicornis), the mountain anoa (Bubalus quarlesi) and the domestic water buffalo (Bubalus bubalis).

Bir Kiseiba Archaeological site in Egypt

Bir Kiseiba is a Neolithic archaeological site in Egypt, dating from approximately 11,000 - 5,000 BP, that lies approximately 250 km west of the Nile in Lower Nubia. Excavated by Fred Wendorf, Romauld Schild, and Angela Close, Bir Kiseiba, along with Nabta Playa, has some of the earliest evidence for food production, permanent settlement, and more diverse technologies as compared to sites from the Late Pleistocene. Wendorf and associates argue that cattle and pottery were here as early as any other place in Africa, although this assertion has been challenged.

<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.

Bubalina Subtribe of bovines consisting of the true buffalo

Bubalina is a subtribe of wild cattle that includes the various species of truebuffalo. Species include the African buffalo, the anoas, and the wild water buffalo. Currently, buffalos can be found naturally in sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia and Southeast Asia, and domestic and feral populations have been introduced to Europe, the Americas, and Australia. In addition to the living species, bubalinans have an extensive fossil record where remains have been found in much of Afro-Eurasia.

Bovina (subtribe) Subtribe of cattle

Bovina is a subtribe of the Bovini tribe that generally includes the two living genera, Bison and Bos. However, this dichotomy has been challenged recently by molecular work that suggests that Bison should be regarded as a junior synonym of Bos. Wild bovians can be found naturally in North America and Eurasia.