|Skeleton Micromeryx , a typical moschid from the Miocene epoch|
|Family:|| Moschidae |
J. E. Gray, 1821
| Moschus |
Moschidae is a family of pecoran even-toed ungulates, containing the musk deer (Moschus) and its extinct relatives. They are characterized by long 'saber teeth' instead of horns, antlers or ossicones, modest size (Moschus only reaches 37 lb (17 kg); other taxa were even smaller) and a lack of facial glands. The fossil record of the family extends back to the late Oligocene, around 28 million years ago. The group was abundant across Eurasia and North America during the Miocene, but afterwards declined to only the extant genus Moschus by the early Pleistocene.
Until the beginning of the 21st century it was understood that the family Moschidae (musk deer) was sister to Cervidae. However, a 2003 phylogenetic study by Alexandre Hassanin (of National Museum of Natural History, France) and colleagues, based on mitochondrial and nuclear analyses, revealed that Moschidae and Bovidae form a clade sister to Cervidae. According to the study, Cervidae diverged from the Bovidae-Moschidae clade 27 to 28 million years ago.The following cladogram is based on the 2003 study.
After Prothero (2007)
Deer or true deer are hoofed ruminant mammals forming the family Cervidae. The two main groups of deer are the Cervinae, including the muntjac, the elk (wapiti), the red deer, and the fallow deer; and the Capreolinae, including the reindeer (caribou), white-tailed deer, the roe deer, and the moose. Male deer of all species as well as female reindeer, grow and shed new antlers each year. In this they differ from permanently horned antelope, which are part of a different family (Bovidae) within the same order of even-toed ungulates (Artiodactyla).
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 with the exception of Suina 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.
The Bovidae comprise the biological family of cloven-hoofed, ruminant mammals that includes nilgai, bison, African buffalo, water buffalo, antelopes, wildebeest, hartebeest, Common tsessebe, bontebok, hirola, sheep, goats, muskoxen, and domestic cattle. A member of this family is called a bovid. With 143 extant species and 300 known extinct species, the family Bovidae consists of eight major subfamilies apart from the disputed Peleinae and Pantholopinae. The family evolved 20 million years ago, in the early Miocene.
Ruminants are large hoofed herbivorous grazing or browsing mammals that are able to acquire nutrients from plant-based food by fermenting it in a specialized stomach prior to digestion, principally through microbial actions. The process, which takes place in the front part of the digestive system and therefore is called foregut fermentation, typically requires the fermented ingesta to be regurgitated and chewed again. The process of rechewing the cud to further break down plant matter and stimulate digestion is called rumination. The word "ruminant" comes from the Latin ruminare, which means "to chew over again".
The Giraffidae are a family of ruminant artiodactyl mammals that share a common ancestor with cervids 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.
Musk deer can refer to any one, or all seven, of the species that make up Moschus, the only extant genus of the family Moschidae. Despite being commonly called deer, they are not true deer belonging to the family Cervidae but rather their family is a sister to Bovidae family. The musk deer family differs from cervids, or true deer, by lacking antlers and preorbital glands also, possessing only a single pair of teats, a gallbladder, a caudal gland, a pair of canine tusks and—of particular economic importance to humans—a musk gland.
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.
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.
Blastomeryx is an extinct genus of musk deer endemic to North America. It lived during the Miocene epoch 20.4—10.3 mya, existing for approximately. There may be only one species, Blastomeryx gemmifer.
The Cetruminantia are a clade made up of the Cetancodontamorpha and their closest living relatives, the Ruminantia.
The Capreolinae, Odocoileinae, or the New World deer are a subfamily of deer. Alternatively, they are known as the telemetacarpal deer, due to their bone structure being different from the plesiometacarpal deer subfamily Cervinae. The telemetacarpal deer maintain their distal lateral metacarpals, while the plesiometacarpal deer maintain only their proximal lateral metacarpals. The Capreolinae are believed to have originated in the Middle Miocene, between 7.7 and 11.5 million years ago, in central Asia.
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).
The Alpine musk deer is a musk deer species native to the eastern Himalayas in Nepal, Bhutan and India to the highlands of Tibet.
Micromeryx is an extinct genus of musk deer that lived during the Miocene epoch. Fossil remains were found in Europe and Asia. The earliest record (MN4) of the genus comes from the Sibnica 4 paleontological site near Rekovac in Serbia.
Artiofabula is a clade made up of the Suina and the Cetruminantia. The clade was found in molecular phylogenetic analyses and contradicted traditional relationships based on morphological analyses.
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.
Microbunodon was a genus of extinct artiodactyl mammals in the family Anthracotheriidae. It lived between the upper Eocene and the lower Pliocene. Its fossil remains have been found in Europe and Asia.
Saigini is a tribe of artiodactyl mammals of the Bovidae family, subfamily Antilopinae, comprising two species of medium-sized gazelles that inhabit the Eurasian steppes.
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.
Hispanomeryx is an extinct genus of artiodactyl from the middle to late Miocene epoch, living from 13 to 8 million years ago. Over the years, they have been variously classified as being related to bovids or giraffes, or even belonging to their own unique family, but they are now widely regarded as moschids, relatives of the living musk deer.
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