Caprinae

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Caprinae
Temporal range: Late Miocene–present
Stone Sheep British Columbia.jpg
Stone sheep (Ovis dalli stonei) in British Columbia, 2009
Scientific classification Red Pencil Icon.png
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Artiodactyla
Family: Bovidae
Subfamily: Caprinae
J. E. Gray, 1821
Tribes

The subfamily Caprinae is part of the ruminant family Bovidae, [1] and consists of mostly medium-sized bovids. A member of this subfamily is called a caprine, [2] or, more informally, a goat-antelope .

Contents

Within this subfamily Caprinae, a prominent tribe, Caprini, includes sheep and goats. Some earlier taxonomies considered Caprinae a separate family called Capridae (with the members being caprids), but now it is usually considered a subfamily within the family Bovidae, with caprines being a kind of bovid.

Characteristics

Skeleton of a Barbary sheep (Ammotragus lervia) on display at the Museum of Osteology Aoudad skeleton.jpg
Skeleton of a Barbary sheep (Ammotragus lervia) on display at the Museum of Osteology

Although most goat-antelopes are gregarious and have fairly stocky builds, they diverge in many other ways the muskox (Ovibos moschatus) is adapted to the extreme cold of the tundra; the mountain goat (Oreamnos americanus) of North America is specialised for very rugged terrain; the urial (Ovis orientalis) occupies a largely infertile area from Kashmir to Iran, including much desert country. The Armenian mouflon (Ovis gmelini gmelini) is thought to be the ancestor of the modern domestic sheep (Ovis aries).

Many species have become extinct since the last ice age, probably largely because of human interaction. Of the survivors:

Members of the group vary considerably in size, from just over 1 m (3 ft) long for a full-grown grey goral (Nemorhaedus goral), to almost 2.5 m (8 ft 2 in) long for a musk ox, and from under 30 kg (66 lb) to more than 350 kg (770 lb). Musk oxen in captivity have reached over 650 kg (1,430 lb).[ citation needed ]

The lifestyles of caprids fall into two broad classes: 'resource-defenders', which are territorial and defend a small, food-rich area against other members of the same species; and 'grazers', which gather together into herds and roam freely over a larger, usually relatively infertile area.

The resource-defenders are the more primitive group: they tend to be smaller in size, dark in colour, males and females fairly alike, have long, tessellated ears, long manes, and dagger-shaped horns. The grazers (sometimes collectively known as tsoan caprids, from the Hebrew tso'n meaning sheep and goats) evolved more recently. They tend to be larger, highly social, and rather than mark territory with scent glands, they have highly evolved dominance behaviours. No sharp line divides the groups, but a continuum varies from the serows at one end of the spectrum to sheep, true goats, and musk oxen at the other.

Evolution

Palaeoreas lindermayeri fossil Palaeoreas lindermayeri.JPG
Palaeoreas lindermayeri fossil

The goat-antelope, or caprid, group is known from as early as the Miocene, when members of the group resembled the modern serow in their general body form. [3] The group did not reach its greatest diversity until the recent ice ages, when many of its members became specialised for marginal, often extreme, environments: mountains, deserts, and the subarctic region.

The ancestors of the modern sheep and goats (both rather vague and ill-defined terms) are thought to have moved into mountainous regions sheep becoming specialised occupants of the foothills and nearby plains, and relying on flight and flocking for defence against predators, and goats adapting to very steep terrain where predators are at a disadvantage.

Internal relationships of Caprinae based on mitochondrial DNA. [4]

Bos

Pantholops

Caprinae

Bootherium (Helmeted muskox)

Ovibos (Musk ox)

Capricornis (Serow)

Naemorhedus (Goral)

Ovis (Sheep)

Oreamnos (Mountain goat)

Budorcas (Takin)

Myotragus (Balearic Islands cave goat)

Rupicapra (Chamois)

Ammotragus (Barbary sheep)

Arabitragus (Arabian tahr)

Pseudois (Bharal)

Hemitragus (Himalayan tahr)

Capra (Goats)

Species

Family Bovidae

Fossil genera

The following extinct genera of Caprinae have been identified: [5] [6]

Unsorted

Related Research Articles

Ibex Type of mammal

An ibex is any of several species of wild goat , distinguished by the male's large recurved horns, which are transversely ridged in front. Ibex are found in Eurasia, North Africa, and East Africa. The name ibex comes from Latin, borrowed from Iberian or Aquitanian, akin to Old Spanish bezerro "bull", modern Spanish becerro "yearling". Ranging in height from 27 to 43 inches and weighing 200 to 270 pounds, ibex can live 20 years. Two closely related varieties of goats found in the wild are not usually called ibex: the markhor and the feral goat.

Chamois Species of antelope

The chamois is a species of goat-antelope native to mountains in Europe, from west to east, including the Cantabrian Mountains, the Pyrenees, the Alps and the Apennines, the Dinarides, the Tatra and the Carpathian Mountains, the Balkan Mountains, the Rila–Rhodope massif, Pindus, the northeastern mountains of Turkey, and the Caucasus. The chamois has also been introduced to the South Island of New Zealand. Some subspecies of chamois are strictly protected in the EU under the European Habitats Directive.

Mountain goat Species of mammal

The mountain goat, also known as the Rocky Mountain goat, is a hoofed mammal endemic to mountainous areas of western North America. A subalpine to alpine species, it is a sure-footed climber commonly seen on cliffs and ice.

Alpine ibex Species of mammal

The Alpine ibex, also known as the steinbock, bouquetin, or simply ibex, is a species of wild goat that lives in the mountains of the European Alps. It is a sexually dimorphic species: males are larger and carry longer, curved horns than females. Its coat colour is typically brownish grey. Alpine ibex tend to live in steep, rough terrain near the snow line. They are also social, although adult males and females segregate for most of the year, coming together only to mate. Four distinct groups exist; adult male groups, female-offspring groups, groups of young individuals, and mixed-sex groups.

Nilgiri tahr Species of mammal

The Nilgiri tahr is an ungulate that is endemic to the Nilgiri Hills and the southern portion of the Western and Eastern Ghats in the states of Tamil Nadu and Kerala in southern India. It is the state animal of Tamil Nadu. Despite its local name, it is more closely related to the sheep of the genus Ovis than the ibex and wild goats of the genus Capra.

<i>Capra</i> (genus) Genus of mammals, the goats

Capra is a genus of mammals, the goats, composed of up to nine species, including the markhor and many species known as ibexes. The domestic goat is a domesticated species derived from the wild goat. Evidence of goat domestication dates back more than 8,500 years.

Antilopinae Subfamily of mammals

The Antilopinae are a subfamily of Bovidae. The gazelles, blackbucks, springboks, gerenuks, dibatags, and Central Asian gazelles are often referred to as true antelopes, and are usually classified as the only representatives of the Antilopinae. True antelopes occur in much of Africa and Asia, with the highest concentration of species occurring in East Africa in Sudan, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somalia, Kenya, and Tanzania. The saigas and Tibetan antelopes are related to true antelopes (Antilopinae) and goats (Caprinae), but often placed in their own subfamily, Saiginae. These animals inhabit much of central and western Asia. The dwarf antelopes are sometimes placed in a separate subfamily, Neotraginae, and live entirely in sub-Saharan Africa. The antilopinae are a subfamily of bovidaes that roam the East African savannas, they have acclimated to possess wider insertion muscles to enable them to avoid predators in the open savanna.

Barbary sheep Species of mammal

The Barbary sheep, also known as aoudad is a species of caprid native to rocky mountains in North Africa. Six subspecies have been described. Although it is rare in its native North Africa, it has been introduced to North America, southern Europe, and elsewhere. It is also known in the Berber language as waddan or arwi, and in former French territories as the moufflon.

Goral Genus of mammals

The gorals are four species in the genus Naemorhedus. They are small ungulates with a goat-like or antelope-like appearance. Until recently, this genus also contained the serow species.

Armenian mouflon

The Armenian mouflon is an endangered subspecies of mouflon endemic to Iran, Armenia, and Nakhchivan (Azerbaijan).

Serow Genus of goat-antelope (Capricornis)

The serows are four species of medium-sized goat-like or antelope-like mammals of the genus Capricornis. All four species of serow were until recently also classified under Naemorhedus, which now only contains the gorals.

American mountain deer Extinct species of deer

Odocoileus lucasi, known commonly as the American mountain deer, is an extinct species of North American deer.

Sarcocystis is a genus of parasitic Apicomplexan alveolates. Species in this genus infect reptiles, birds and mammals. The name is derived from Greek: sarkos = flesh and kystis = bladder.

<i>Melophagus</i> Genus of flies

Melophagus is a genus of biting flies in the family of louse flies, Hippoboscidae. There are three known species and one subspecies. All are parasites of bovids. All are wingless.

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.

Evolution of domestic goats

Goat evolution is the process by which domestic goats came to exist through evolution by natural selection. Wild goats were one of the first species domesticated by modern humans, with the date of domestication generally considered to be 8,000 BCE. Domestic goats are medium-sized mammals which are found in noticeably harsh environments, particularly forest and mountains, in the Middle east and Central Asia, covering an area from Turkey to Turkmenistan. 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 other bovidae as early as the late Miocene, with the group reaching its greatest diversity in the ice ages.

References

  1. Gomez, W.; Patterson, T. A.; Swinton, J.; Berini, J. "Bovidae: antelopes, cattle, gazelles, goats, sheep, and relatives". Animal Diversity Web. University of Michigan Museum of Zoology. Retrieved 7 October 2014.
  2. "Definition of CAPRINE". www.merriam-webster.com. Retrieved 2019-12-11.
  3. Geist, Valerius (1984). Macdonald, D. (ed.). The Encyclopedia of Mammals . New York: Facts on File. pp.  584–587. ISBN   0-87196-871-1.
  4. Bover, Pere; Llamas, Bastien; Mitchell, Kieren J.; Thomson, Vicki A.; Alcover, Josep Antoni; Lalueza-Fox, Carles; Cooper, Alan; Pons, Joan (July 2019). "Unraveling the phylogenetic relationships of the extinct bovid Myotragus balearicus Bate 1909 from the Balearic Islands". Quaternary Science Reviews. 215: 185–195. doi:10.1016/j.quascirev.2019.05.005.
  5. tolweb.org
  6. "palaeos.org". Archived from the original on 2013-11-09. Retrieved 2010-08-11.