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Taxon level Family
Taxon name Bovidae
Closely related taxa Antilocapridae, Bovidae, Camelidae, Cervidae, Giraffidae, Hippopotamidae, Moschidae, Suidae, Tayassuidae, Tragulidae Catalogue of Life 2010 checklist
Taxon details Almost 140 species of cloven-hoofed mammals belonging to the family Bovidae are called bovids. The family is widespread, being native to Asia, Africa, Europe and North America, and diverse: members include bison, African buffalo, water buffalo, antelopes, gazelles, sheep, goats, muskoxen, and domestic cattle. The largest number of modern bovids is found in Africa

The bovid family is known through fossils from the early Miocene, around 20 million years ago. The earliest bovids, such as Eotragus, were small animals, somewhat similar to modern gazelles, and probably lived in woodland environments. The bovids rapidly diversified, and by the late Miocene had moved onto grassland habitats.

Taxon morphology details The largest bovid, the gaur, weighs well over a ton and stands 2.2 metres high at the shoulder; the smallest, the royal antelope, weighs about 3 kg and stands no taller than a large domestic cat. They occupy, and are adapted to, a wide variety of habitat types, from desert to tundra and from thick tropical forest to high mountains. Most members of the family are herbivorous.

Many bovids have a solid, stocky build, complex digestive systems (four chambered stomach) and four toes on each foot. Additionally, males of most species have horns, which have been linked to sexual selection.

Species belonging to this taxon Antilope cervicapra (Blackbuck), Bos frontalis (Gaur, Indian bison), Bos grunniens (Yak,Grunting ox), Boselaphus tragocamelus (Nilgai,Blue bull), Bubalis bubalis (Water buffalo,Wild Asian buffalo,Wild Asiatic buffalo), Budorcas taxicolor (Takin), Capra falconeri (Markhor), Capra sibirica (Siberian Ibex), Naemorhedus goral (Himalayan Goral, Gray Goral), Naemorhedus sumatraensis (Serow, Himalayan Serow), Ovis ammon (Argali, Mountain sheep, Marco Polo sheep), Ovis vignei (Urial, Arkars, Shapo), Pantholops hodgsonii (Tibetan antelope, Chiru), Procapra picticaudata (Tibetan Gazelle, Goa), Pseudois nayaur (Bharal, Himalayan blue sheep, Naur), Tetracerus quadricornis (Four Horned antelope)

Wikipedia (Web): Wikipedia article on Bovids, Accessdate=2011-03-16