Thomson's gazelle (Eudorcas thomsonii) is one of the best-known gazelles. It is named after explorer Joseph Thomson and is sometimes referred to as a "tommie". 80–90 km/h (50–55 mph). It is the fourth-fastest land animal, after the cheetah (its main predator), pronghorn, and springbok.It is considered by some to be a subspecies of the red-fronted gazelle and was formerly considered a member of the genus Gazella within the subgenus Eudorcas, before Eudorcas was elevated to genus status. Thomson's gazelles can be found in numbers exceeding 200,000 in Africa and are recognized as the most common type of gazelle in East Africa. The Thomson's gazelle can reach speeds of
The scientific name of Thomson's gazelle is Eudorcas thomsonii. It is a member of the genus Eudorcas and is classified under the family Bovidae. Thomson's gazelle was first described by British zoologist Albert Günther in 1884.The relationships between Thomson's gazelle and the congeneric Mongalla gazelle (E. albonotata) remain disputed; while some authors such as Alan W. Gentry of the (Natural History Museum, London) consider the Mongalla gazelle to be a subspecies of Thomson's gazelle, others (such as Colin Groves) consider the Mongalla gazelle to be a full species. Zoologist Jonathan Kingdon treated Heuglin's gazelle, sometimes considered a species of Eudorcas (E. tilonura) or a subspecies of the red-fronted gazelle (E. r. tilonura), as a subspecies of Thomson's gazelle. Thomson's gazelle is named after the Scottish explorer Joseph Thomson; the first recorded use of the name dates to 1897. Another common name for the gazelle is "tommy".
Antilope , Eudorcas , Gazella , and Nanger form a clade within their tribe Antilopini. A 1999 phylogenetic analysis showed that Antilope is the closest sister taxon to Gazella,although the earliest phylogeny, proposed in 1976, placed Antilope as sister to Nanger. In a more recent revision of the phylogeny of the Antilopini on the basis of nuclear and mitochondrial data in 2013, Eva Verena Bärmann (of the University of Cambridge) and colleagues constructed a cladogram that clearly depicted the close relationship between Nanger and Eudorcas. Antilope and Gazella were found to have a similar relationship.
Two subspecies are identified:
Thomson's gazelle is a relatively small gazelle; it stands 58–70 cm (23–28 in) at the shoulder. Males weigh 17–29 kg (37–64 lb), while the slightly lighter females weigh 13–24 kg (29–53 lb). Facial characteristics of the gazelle include white rings around the eyes, black stripes running from a corner of the eye to the nose, rufous stripes running from the horns to the nose, a dark patch on the nose, and a light forehead.
The coat is sandy brown to rufous; a distinctive black band runs across the flanks, from the upper foreleg to just above the upper hind leg. A buff band can be seen just above the black stripe. Short, black streaks mark the white rump. The black tail measures 15–27 cm (5.9–10.6 in). Males have well-developed preorbital glands near the eyes, which are used for scent-marking territories. Both sexes possess horns that curve slightly backward with the tips facing forward. The horns, highly ringed, measure 25–43 cm (9.8–16.9 in) on males and 7–15 cm (2.8–5.9 in) on females. However, females have highly fragile horns; some are even hornless. Grant's gazelle is very similar to Thomson's gazelle, but can be differentiated by its larger size and a large white patch on the rump.
The two subspecies differ markedly in their appearance. The eastern Thomson's gazelle is the larger of the two, with fainter facial markings. The Serengeti Thomson's gazelle, though, has a whiter face with more conspicuous markings. The horns of females are shorter than those of males to a greater degree in the eastern Thomson's gazelle; moreover, the horns are more divergent in the eastern Thomson gazelle.
Thomson's gazelle lives in Africa's savannas and grassland habitats, particularly the Serengeti region of Kenya and Tanzania. It has narrow habitat preferences, preferring short grassland with dry, sturdy foundation.It does, however, migrate into tall grassland and dense woodland. Gazelles are mixed feeders. In the wet seasons, they eat mainly fresh grasses, but during the dry seasons, they eat more browse, particularly foliage from bushes, forbs, and clovers.
Thomson's gazelles are dependent on short grass. 80 km/h (50 mph), to 96 km/h (60 mph) and zigzag, a peculiarity which often saves it from predators. Sometimes, they are also chased by leopards, lions, and hyenas, but the gazelles are faster and more agile; these predators attack especially the young or infirm individuals. They can also be prey to Nile crocodiles and African rock pythons, and their fawns are sometimes the prey of eagles, African wild dogs, jackals, and baboons. A noticeable behaviour of Thomson's gazelles is their bounding leap, known as stotting or pronking, used to startle predators and display strength.Their numbers are highly concentrated at the beginning of the rains since the grass grows quickly. They follow the larger herbivores, such as plains zebras and blue wildebeests as they mow down the tall grasses. Then, the gazelles spread out more. In the wild, Thomson's gazelles can live 10–15 years. Their major predators are cheetahs, which are able to attain higher speeds, but gazelles can outlast them in long chases and are able to make turns more speedily. This small antelope-gazelle can run extremely fast, from
During the wet season, a time when grass is abundant, adult male gazelles graze extensively. They spread out more and establish breeding territories.Younger males usually spend their time in bachelor groups, and are prevented from entering the territories. Females form migratory groups that enter the males' territories, mostly the ones with the highest-quality resources. As the female groups pass through and forage, the territorial males may try to herd them, and are usually successful in preventing single females from leaving, but not whole groups. Subadult males usually establish dominance through actual combat, while adults are more likely to do rituals. If a bachelor male should be passing through a territorial male's region, the male will chase the offender out of his territory.
When patrolling his territory, a male may use his horns to gore the grass, soil, or a bush.Males also mark grass stems with their preorbital glands, which emit a dark secretion. Territories of different males may share a boundary. When territorial males meet at the border of their territories, they engage in mock fights in which they rush towards each other as if they are about to clash, but without touching. After this, they graze in a frontal position, then in parallel and then in reverse, and move away from each other while constantly grazing. These rituals have no victor, but merely maintain the boundaries of the territories. Territorial males usually do not enter another male's territory. If a male is chasing an escaping female, he will stop the chase if she runs into another territory, but the neighboring male will continue the chase.
A male gazelle follows a female and sniffs her urine to find out if she is in estrus, a process known as the Flehmen response.If so, he continues to court and mount her. Females leave the herd to give birth to single fawns after a five- to six-month gestation period. They give birth twice yearly with one or two fawns. When birthing, a female gazelle crouches as the newborn fawn drops to the ground, tearing the umbilical cord. The mother then licks the fawn clean of amniotic fluid and tissues. In addition, licking possibly also serves to stimulate the fawn's blood circulation, or to "label" it so its mother can recognize it by scent.
In the first six hours of the fawn's life, it moves and rests with its mother, but eventually spends more time away from its mother or hides in the grass.The mother stays in the vicinity of the fawn and returns to nurse it daily. Mother and fawn may spend an hour together before the fawn goes and lies back down to wait for the next nursing. Mother gazelles may associate with other gazelle mothers, but the fawns do not gather into "kindergartens". Mothers defend their young against jackals and baboons, but not against larger predators. Sometimes, a female can fend off a male baboon by headbutting him with her horns to defend her fawn.
Females exhibit pre-retrieval peaks in maternal vigilance. This behavior is conspicuous. Females all but cease other activities in favor of vigilance. They move slowly in the direction of the fawn’s hiding spot, stopping frequently to scan the environment. Several females in our observations engaged in “sham” feeding behavior, in which they lowered their heads to the ground as if to feed before quickly raising them back up to scan. In one instance, a female appeared to actively search for predators by climbing to the top of a slight hill to scan prior to approaching her fawn’s hiding spot.
As the fawn approaches two months of age, it spends more time with its mother and less time hiding. Eventually, it stops hiding.Around this time, the fawn starts eating solid food, but continues to nurse from its mother. The pair also joins a herd. Young female gazelles may associate with their mothers as yearlings. Young males may also follow their mothers, but as they reach adolescence, they are noticed by territorial males, so cannot follow their mothers into territories. The mother may follow and stay with him, but eventually stops following him when he is driven away; the male will then join a bachelor group.
The population estimate is around 550,000. The population had declined 60% from 1978 to 2005.Threats to Thomson's gazelles are tourist impacts, habitat modification, fire management, and road development. Surveys have reported steep declines (60-70%) over periods of about 20 years dating from the late 1970s in several places, including the main strongholds for the species: Serengeti, Masai Mara, and Ngorongoro.
References to the Thomson's gazelle were an occasional running gag in Monty Python's Flying Circus .
The 2016 Disney film Zootopia features an anthropomorphic Thomson's gazelle pop star, voiced by Shakira.
The Thomson's gazelle served as the inspiration for Alexander McQueen's 1997 Autumn/Winter collection, It's a Jungle Out There.
The term antelope is used to refer to many species of even-toed ruminant indigenous to various regions in Africa and Eurasia.
The Bovidae comprise the biological family of cloven-hoofed, ruminant vertebrates that includes bison, African buffalo, water buffalo, antelopes, 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.
The common tsessebe or sassaby is one of six subspecies of African antelope Damaliscus lunatus of the genus Damaliscus and subfamily Alcelaphinae in the family Bovidae. It is most closely related to the topi, korrigum, coastal topi and tiang, and the bangweulu tsessebe and bontebok in the same genus. Tsessebe are found primarily in Angola, Zambia, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Eswatini (Swaziland), and South Africa. Tsessebe are the fastest antelope in Africa and can run at speeds over 90 km/h.
The gerenuk, also known as the giraffe gazelle, is a long-necked antelope found in the Horn of Africa and the drier parts of East Africa. The sole member of the genus Litocranius, the gerenuk was first described by the naturalist Victor Brooke in 1879. It is characterised by its long, slender neck and limbs. The antelope is 80–105 centimetres tall, and weighs between 28 and 52 kilograms. Two types of colouration are clearly visible on the smooth coat: the reddish brown back or the "saddle", and the lighter flanks, fawn to buff. The horns, present only on males, are lyre-shaped. Curving backward then slightly forward, these measure 25–44 cm.
The blackbuck, also known as the Indian antelope, is an antelope found in India, Nepal, and Pakistan. The blackbuck is the sole extant member of the genus Antilope. The species was described and given its binomial name by Swedish zoologist Carl Linnaeus in 1758. Two subspecies are recognized. It stands up to 74 to 84 cm high at the shoulder. Males weigh 20–57 kg (44–126 lb), an average of 38 kilograms (84 lb). Females are lighter, weighing 20–33 kg (44–73 lb) or 27 kg (60 lb) on average. The long, ringed horns, 35–75 cm (14–30 in) long, are generally present only on males, though females may develop horns, as well. The white fur on the chin and around the eyes is in sharp contrast with the black stripes on the face. The coats of males show two-tone colouration; while the upper parts and outsides of the legs are dark brown to black, the underparts and the insides of the legs are all white. However, females and juveniles are yellowish fawn to tan.
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The dorcas gazelle, also known as the ariel gazelle, is a small and common gazelle. The dorcas gazelle stands about 55–65 cm at the shoulder, with a head and body length of 90–110 cm and a weight of 15–20 kg. The numerous subspecies survive on vegetation in grassland, steppe, wadis, mountain desert and in semidesert climates of Africa and Arabia. About 35,000–40,000 exist in the wild. The extinct Saudi gazelle from the Arabian Peninsula has been previously considered as a subspecies of the dorcas gazelle.
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The mountain gazelle or the Palestine mountain gazelle is a species of gazelle widely but unevenly distributed.
The rhim gazelle or rhim, also known as the slender-horned gazelle, African sand gazelle or Loder's gazelle, is a pale-coated gazelle with long slender horns and well adapted to desert life. It is considered an endangered species because fewer than 2500 are left in the wild. These gazelles are found in Algeria, Chad, Egypt, Libya and Sudan.
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The red-fronted gazelle is widely but unevenly distributed gazelle across the middle of Africa from Senegal to northeastern Ethiopia. It is mainly resident in the Sahel zone, a narrow cross-Africa band south of the Sahara, where it prefers arid grasslands, wooded savannas and shrubby steppes.
Grant's gazelle is a species of gazelle distributed from northern Tanzania to South Sudan and Ethiopia, and from the Kenyan coast to Lake Victoria. Its Swahili name is swala granti. It was named for a 19th-century British explorer, Lt Col Grant.
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Eudorcas is a genus of antelope; the species are commonly called gazelles. Eudorcas was originally considered a subgenus of the genus Gazella but has since been elevated to generic status. The five species within the genus Eudorcas are:
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The Mongalla gazelle is a species of gazelle found in the floodplain and savanna of South Sudan. It was first described by British zoologist Walter Rothschild in 1903. The taxonomic status of the Mongalla gazelle is widely disputed. While some authorities consider it a full-fledged monotypic species in the genus Eudorcas, it is often considered a subspecies of Thomson's gazelle, while other authorities regard it as subspecies of the red-fronted gazelle.
Antilopini is a tribe of medium-sized gazelles and dwarf antelopes that live in and around the Sahara, Horn of Africa, and Eurasia. The females have very short horns compared with the males, and they have smooth and glossy tan and white coats. Most species have black stripes and facial markings. They have a territorial male as a leader in herds and sometimes group with other species, such as Grant's gazelle joining with Thomson's gazelle. They top speeds of 50 mph and have the ability to jump and turn sharply. They have adapted well to running in open environments.
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