Livestock is defined as domesticated animals raised in an agricultural setting to produce labor and commodities such as meat, milk, fur and wool. The term is sometimes used to refer to those that are bred for consumption, while other times it refers only to farmed ruminants, such as cattle and goats. Horses are considered livestock in the United States; the USDA uses livestock to some uses of the term “red meat”, in which it refers to all the mammal animals kept in this setting to be used as commodities. The USDA mentions pork, veal and lamb are all classified as livestock and all livestock is considered to be red meats. Poultry and fish are not included in the category; the breeding and slaughter of livestock, known as animal husbandry, is a component of modern agriculture, practiced in many cultures since humanity's transition to farming from hunter-gatherer lifestyles. Animal husbandry practices have varied across cultures and time periods. Livestock were not confined by fences or enclosures, but these practices have shifted to intensive animal farming, sometimes referred to as "factory farming".
Now, over 99% of livestock are raised on factory farms. These practices increase yield of the various commercial outputs, but have led to negative impacts on animal welfare and the environment. Livestock production continues to play a major economic and cultural role in numerous rural communities. Livestock as a word was first used between 1650 and 1660, as a merger between the words "live" and "stock". In some periods, "cattle" and "livestock" have been used interchangeably. Today, the modern meaning of cattle is domesticated bovines. United States federal legislation defines the term to make specified agricultural commodities eligible or ineligible for a program or activity. For example, the Livestock Mandatory Reporting Act of 1999 defines livestock only as cattle and sheep, while the 1988 disaster assistance legislation defined the term as "cattle, goats, poultry, equine animals used for food or in the production of food, fish used for food, other animals designated by the Secretary."Deadstock is defined in contradistinction to livestock as "animals that have died before slaughter, sometimes from illness".
It is illegal in many countries, such as Canada, to sell or process meat from dead animals for human consumption. Animal-rearing originated during the cultural transition to settled farming communities from hunter-gatherer lifestyles. Animals are domesticated when their living conditions are controlled by humans. Over time, the collective behaviour and physiology of livestock have changed radically. Many modern farm animals are unsuited to life in the wild; the dog was domesticated early. Goats and sheep were domesticated in multiple events sometime between 11,000 and 5,000 years ago in Southwest Asia. Pigs were domesticated by 8,500 BC in the Near 6,000 BC in China. Domestication of the horse dates to around 4000 BC. Cattle have been domesticated since 10,500 years ago. Chickens and other poultry may have been domesticated around 7000 BC; the term "livestock" is may be defined narrowly or broadly. Broadly, livestock refers to any breed or population of animal kept by humans for a useful, commercial purpose.
This can mean semidomestic animals, or captive wild animals. Semidomesticated refers to animals which are only domesticated or of disputed status; these populations may be in the process of domestication. Traditionally, animal husbandry was part of the subsistence farmer's way of life, producing not only the food needed by the family but the fuel, clothing and draught power. Killing the animal for food was a secondary consideration, wherever possible its products, such as wool, eggs and blood were harvested while the animal was still alive. In the traditional system of transhumance and livestock moved seasonally between fixed summer and winter pastures. Animals can be kept intensively. Extensive systems involve animals roaming at will, or under the supervision of a herdsman for their protection from predators. Ranching in the Western United States involves large herds of cattle grazing over public and private lands. Similar cattle stations are found in South America and other places with large areas of land and low rainfall.
Ranching systems have been used for sheep, ostrich, emu and alpaca. In the uplands of the United Kingdom, sheep are turned out on the fells in spring and graze the abundant mountain grasses untended, being brought to lower altitudes late in the year, with supplementary feeding being provided in winter. In rural locations and poultry can obtain much of their nutrition from scavenging, in African communities, hens may live for months without being fed, still produce one or two eggs a week. At the other extreme, in the more developed parts of the world, animals are intensively managed. In between these two extremes are semi-intensive family run farms where livestock graze outside for much of the year, silage or hay is made to cove
The aurochs known as urus or ure, is an extinct species of large wild cattle that inhabited Europe and North Africa. It is the ancestor of domestic cattle; the species survived in Europe until 1627, when the last recorded aurochs died in the Jaktorów Forest, Poland. During the Neolithic Revolution, which occurred during the early Holocene, at least two aurochs domestication events occurred: one related to the Indian subspecies, leading to zebu cattle, the other one related to the Eurasian subspecies, leading to taurine cattle. Other species of wild bovines were domesticated, namely the wild water buffalo, wild yak and banteng. In modern cattle, numerous breeds share characteristics of the aurochs, such as a dark colour in the bulls with a light eel stripe along the back, or a typical aurochs-like horn shape; the aurochs was variously classified as Bos primigenius, Bos taurus, or, in old sources, Bos urus. However, in 2003, the International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature "conserved the usage of 17 specific names based on wild species, which are predated by or contemporary with those based on domestic forms", confirming Bos primigenius for the aurochs.
Taxonomists who consider domesticated cattle a subspecies of the wild aurochs should use B. primigenius taurus. The words aurochs and wisent have all been used synonymously in English, but the extinct aurochs/urus is a separate species from the still-extant wisent known as European bison. The two were confused, some 16th-century illustrations of aurochs and wisents have hybrid features; the word urus was borrowed into Latin from Germanic. In German, OHG ūr was compounded with ohso "ox"; the modern form is Auerochse. The word aurochs was borrowed from early modern German, replacing archaic urochs from an earlier form of German; the word is invariable in number in English, though sometimes a back-formed singular auroch and/or innovated plural aurochses occur. The use in English of the plural form aurochsen is nonstandard, but mentioned in The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the English Language, it is directly parallel to the German plural Ochsen and recreates by analogy the same distinction as English ox and oxen.
During the Pliocene, the colder climate caused an extension of open grassland, which led to the evolution of large grazers, such as wild bovines. Bos acutifrons is an extinct species of cattle, suggested as an ancestor for the aurochs; the oldest aurochs remains have been dated to about 2 million years ago, in India. The Indian subspecies was the first to appear. During the Pleistocene, the species migrated west into the Middle East, as well as to the east, they reached Europe about 270,000 years ago. The South Asian domestic cattle, or zebu, descended from Indian aurochs at the edge of the Thar Desert. Domestic yak and Bali cattle do not descend from aurochs; the first complete mitochondrial genome DNA sequence analysis of Bos primigenius from an archaeologically verified and exceptionally well preserved aurochs bone sample was published in 2010, followed by the publication in 2015 of the complete genome sequence of Bos primigenius using DNA isolated from a 6,750-year-old British aurochs bone.
Further studies using the Bos primigenius whole genome sequence have identified candidate microRNA-regulated domestication genesThree wild subspecies of aurochs are recognised. Only the Eurasian subspecies survived until recent times; the Eurasian aurochs once ranged across the steppes and taigas of Europe and Central Asia, East Asia. It is noted as part of the Pleistocene megafauna, declined in numbers along with other megafauna species by the end of Pleistocene; the Eurasian aurochs were domesticated into modern taurine cattle breeds around the sixth millennium BC in the Middle East, also at about the same time in the Far East. Aurochs were still widespread in Europe during the time of the Roman Empire, when they were popular as a battle beast in Roman arenas. Excessive hunting continued until the species was nearly extinct. By the 13th century, aurochs existed only in small numbers in Eastern Europe, the hunting of aurochs became a privilege of nobles, royal households; the aurochs were not saved from extinction, the last recorded live aurochs, a female, died in 1627 in the Jaktorów Forest, from natural causes.
Aurochs were found to have lived on the island of Sicily, having migrated via a land bridge from Italy. After the disappearance of the land bridge, Sicilian aurochs evolved to be 20% smaller than their mainland relatives due to insular dwarfism. Fossilized specimens were found in Japan herded with steppe bison; the Indian aurochs once inhabited India. It was the first subspecies of the aurochs to appear, at 2 million years ago, from about 9000 years ago, it was domesticated as the zebu. Fossil remains indicate wild Indian aurochs besides domesticated zebu cattle were in Gujarat and the Ganges area until about 4–5000 years ago. Remains from wild aurochs 4400 years old are identified from Karnataka in South India; the North African aurochs once lived in the woodland and shrubland of North Afri
The African buffalo or Cape buffalo is a large Sub-Saharan African bovine. Syncerus caffer caffer, the Cape buffalo, is the typical subspecies, the largest one, found in Southern and East Africa. S. c. nanus is the smallest subspecies, common in forest areas of Central and West Africa, while S. c. brachyceros is in West Africa and S. c. aequinoctialis is in the savannas of East Africa. The adult buffalo's horns are its characteristic feature: they have fused bases, forming a continuous bone shield across the top of the head referred to as a "boss", they are regarded as among the most dangerous animals on the African continent, according to some estimates they gore and kill over 200 people every year. The African buffalo is not an ancestor of domestic cattle and is only distantly related to other larger bovines, its unpredictable temperament means that the African buffalo has never been domesticated, unlike its Asian counterpart, the water buffalo. African Cape buffaloes have few predators aside from large crocodiles.
As a member of the big five game, the Cape buffalo is a sought-after trophy in hunting. The African buffalo is a robust species, its shoulder height can range from 1.0 to 1.7 m and its head-and-body length can range from 1.7 to 3.4 m. Compared with other large bovids, it has a long but stocky body and short but thickset legs, resulting in a short standing height; the tail can range from 70 to 110 cm long. Savannah-type buffaloes weigh 500 to 1,000 kg, with males larger than females, reaching the upper weight range. In comparison, forest-type buffaloes, at 250 to 450 kg, are only half that size, its head is carried low. The front hooves of the buffalo are wider than the rear, associated with the need to support the weight of the front part of the body, heavier and more powerful than the back. Savannah-type buffaloes have dark brown coats with age. Old bulls have whitish circles around their eyes and on their face. Females tend to have more-reddish coats. Forest-type buffaloes are 30-40% smaller, reddish brown in colour, with much more hair growth around the ears and with horns that curve back and up.
Calves of both types have red coats. A characteristic feature of the horns of adult male African buffalo is that the bases come close together, forming a shield referred to as a "boss". From the base, the horns diverge downwards smoothly curve upwards and outwards and in some cases inwards and or backwards. In large bulls, the distance between the ends of the horns can reach upwards of one metre; the horns form when the animal reaches the age of five or six years but the bosses do not become "hard" till 8 to 9 years old. In cows, the horns are, on average, 10–20% smaller, they do not have a boss. Forest buffalo horns are smaller than those of the savanna buffalo from Southern and Eastern Africa measuring less than 40 centimetres, are never fused. Syncerus caffer caffer is the nominate subspecies and the largest one, with large males weighing up to 910 kg; the average weight of bulls from South Africa was 753 kg. In Serengeti National Park, eight bulls averaged 751 kg. Mature cows from Kruger National Park averaged 513 kg.
In both Kenya and Botswana, the average adult weight of this race was estimated as 631 kg. It is peculiar to East Africa. Buffaloes of this subspecies living in the south of the continent, notably tall in size and ferocity, are the so-called Cape buffalo. Color of this subspecies is the darkest black. S. c. nanus is the smallest of the subspecies. The color is red, with darker patches on the head and shoulders, in the ears, forming a brush; the dwarf buffalo is common in forest areas of West Africa. This subspecies is so different from the nominate subspecies that some researchers still consider it to be a separate species, S. nanus. Hybrids between the nominate and dwarf subspecies are not uncommon. S. c. brachyceros is, in morphological terms, intermediate between the first two subspecies. It occurs in West Africa, its dimensions are small compared to other buffalo found in Cameroon, which weigh half as much as the Cape subspecies. Adults average in weight up to 400 kg. S. c. aequinoctialis is confined to the savannas of Central Africa.
It is similar to the Cape buffalo, but somewhat smaller, its color is lighter. This subspecies is sometimes considered to be the same as the Sudanese buffalo. S. c. mathewsi is not universally recognized by all authorities. It lives in mountainous areas of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Uganda; the African buffalo is one of the most successful grazers in Africa. It lives in swamps and floodplains, as well as mopane grasslands, the forests of the major mountains of Africa; this buffalo prefers a habitat with dense cover, such as reeds and thickets, but can be found in open woodland. While not demanding in regards to their habitat, they require water daily, so they depend on perenn
The four-horned antelope, or chousingha, is a small antelope found in India and Nepal. This antelope has four 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 at the shoulder and weighs nearly 17–22 kilograms. 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, 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, the anterior ones are 2–5 centimetres long; the four-horned antelope is diurnal. Though solitary by nature, four-horned antelopes may form loose groups of three to five –with one or more adults, sometimes accompanied by juveniles; this elusive antelope feeds on grasses, shrubs, foliage and fruits.
It needs to drink water frequently. The breeding behaviour of the four-horned antelope has not been well studied; the age at which they reach sexual maturity and the season when mating occurs have not been understood well. Gestation lasts about eight months, following which two calves are born, they are kept concealed for the first few weeks of their birth. The young remain with the mother for about a year. Four-horned antelopes tend to inhabit areas with significant grass cover or heavy undergrowth, avoid human settlements. Earlier common throughout deciduous forests in India, the antelope now occurs in disjunct, small populations. Most of the populations are in India, lower numbers can be found in adjoining Nepal; the four-horned antelope is threatened by the loss of its natural habitat due to agricultural expansion. Moreover, the unusual four-horned skull and the horns have been a popular target for trophy hunters; the four-horned antelope is classified as Vulnerable by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources.
The scientific name of the four-horned antelope is Tetracerus quadricornis. The generic name Tetracerus is the combination of two Greek words: tetra meaning "four" and keras meaning "horn"; the specific name quadricornis is derived from two Latin words: quattuor meaning "four" and cornu "horn". The four-horned antelope is known by several vernacular names: chausingha, chousingha, ghutri; the four-horned antelope is the sole member of the genus Tetracerus, is placed under the family Bovidae. The species was first described by French zoologist Henri Marie Ducrotay de Blainville in 1816; the four-horned antelope has only one other relative in the nilgai. The Boselaphini have horns with a keel on the front and lack rings as found in other antelope groups; the authority for Tetracerus is variously indicated according to interpretations of the International Code of Zoological Nomenclature. The name was first published in an 1825 publication by English naturalist Thomas Hardwicke but cited the English zoologist William Elford Leach – by an editor – as the authority in a footnote at the end of the publication.
Philip Sclater and Oldfield Thomas listed Hardwicke as the genus authority by virtue of his being the author of the publication. However, Leach is now identified as the appropriate authority based on Article 50.1.1 of the Zoological Code. A 1992 phylogenetic study showed a strong possibility of a clade consisting of Boselaphini and Tragelaphini. Bovini consists of the genera Bubalus, Pseudoryx, Syncerus and the extinct Pelorovis. Tragelaphini consists of two genera: Tragelaphus. Boselaphini and Tragelaphini were predicted to be close; the following cladogram is based on the 1992 study: Colin Groves recognizes three subspecies of the four-horned antelope on the basis of distribution and physical characteristics such as coat colour, body size and the number of horns: T. q. iodes: distributed north of the Ganges in Nepal T. q. quadricornis: distributed in peninsular India T. q. subquadricornutus distributed in the Western Ghats and southern India Though Boselaphini has no African representation today, fossil evidence supports its presence in the continent during as early as the late Miocene – the two living antelopes of this tribe, in fact, have been found to have a closer relationship with the earliest bovids than do the other bovids.
This tribe originated at least 8.9 Mya, in much the same area where the four-horned antelope occurs today, may represent the most "primitive" of all living bovids, having changed the least since the origins of the family. The extant and extinct boselaphine forms show similar development of the horn cores, it is thought that ancestral bovids had a diploid chromosome number of 58 which has reduced in Tetracerus to 38 through a process of concatenation of some chromosomes. Fossils of Protragoceros labidotus and Sivoreas eremita dating back to the late Miocene have been discovered in the Ngorora formation. Fossils from the same period have been excavated in the eastern Mediterranean region. Other Miocene fossils of boselaphines discovered are of Miotragocerus
The Holocene is the current geological epoch. It began 11,650 cal years before present, after the last glacial period, which concluded with the Holocene glacial retreat; the Holocene and the preceding Pleistocene together form the Quaternary period. The Holocene has been identified with the current warm period, known as MIS 1, it is considered by some to be an interglacial period within the Pleistocene Epoch. The Holocene has seen the growth and impacts of the human species worldwide, including all its written history, development of major civilizations, overall significant transition toward urban living in the present. Human impacts on modern-era Earth and its ecosystems may be considered of global significance for future evolution of living species, including synchronous lithospheric evidence, or more hydrospheric and atmospheric evidence of human impacts. In July 2018, the International Union of Geological Sciences split the Holocene epoch into three distinct subsections, Greenlandian and Meghalayan, as proposed by International Commission on Stratigraphy.
The boundary stratotype of Meghalayan is a speleothem in Mawmluh cave in India, the global auxiliary stratotype is an ice core from Mount Logan in Canada. The name Holocene comes from the Ancient Greek words ὅλος and καινός, meaning "entirely recent", it is accepted by the International Commission on Stratigraphy that the Holocene started 11,650 cal years BP. The Subcommission on Quaternary Stratigraphy quotes Gibbard and van Kolfschoten in Gradstein Ogg and Smith in stating the term'Recent' as an alternative to Holocene is invalid and should not be used and observe that the term Flandrian, derived from marine transgression sediments on the Flanders coast of Belgium has been used as a synonym for Holocene by authors who consider the last 10,000 years should have the same stage-status as previous interglacial events and thus be included in the Pleistocene; the International Commission on Stratigraphy, considers the Holocene an epoch following the Pleistocene and the last glacial period. Local names for the last glacial period include the Wisconsinan in North America, the Weichselian in Europe, the Devensian in Britain, the Llanquihue in Chile and the Otiran in New Zealand.
The Holocene can be subdivided into five time intervals, or chronozones, based on climatic fluctuations: Preboreal, Atlantic and Subatlantic. Note: "ka" means "kilo-annum" Before Present, i.e. 1,000 years before 1950 The Blytt–Sernander classification of climatic periods defined by plant remains in peat mosses, is being explored. Geologists working in different regions are studying sea levels, peat bogs and ice core samples by a variety of methods, with a view toward further verifying and refining the Blytt–Sernander sequence, they find a general correspondence across Eurasia and North America, though the method was once thought to be of no interest. The scheme was defined for Northern Europe, but the climate changes were claimed to occur more widely; the periods of the scheme include a few of the final pre-Holocene oscillations of the last glacial period and classify climates of more recent prehistory. Paleontologists have not defined any faunal stages for the Holocene. If subdivision is necessary, periods of human technological development, such as the Mesolithic and Bronze Age, are used.
However, the time periods referenced by these terms vary with the emergence of those technologies in different parts of the world. Climatically, the Holocene may be divided evenly into the Neoglacial periods. According to some scholars, a third division, the Anthropocene, has now begun; the International Commission on Stratigraphy Subcommission on Quaternary Stratigraphy’s working group on the'Anthropocene' note this term is used to denote the present time interval in which many geologically significant conditions and processes have been profoundly altered by human activities. The'Anthropocene' is not a formally defined geological unit. Continental motions due to plate tectonics are less than a kilometre over a span of only 10,000 years. However, ice melt caused world sea levels to rise about 35 m in the early part of the Holocene. In addition, many areas above about 40 degrees north latitude had been depressed by the weight of the Pleistocene glaciers and rose as much as 180 m due to post-glacial rebound over the late Pleistocene and Holocene, are still rising today.
The sea level rise and temporary land depression allowed temporary marine incursions into areas that are now far from the sea. Holocene marine fossils are known, from Vermont and Michigan. Other than higher-latitude temporary marine incursions associated with glacial depression, Holocene fossils are found in lakebed and cave deposits. Holocene marine deposits along low-latitude coastlines are rare because the rise in sea levels during the period exceeds any tectonic uplift of non-glacial origin. Post-glacial rebound in the Scandinavia region resulted in the formation of the Baltic Sea; the region continues to rise, still causing weak earthquakes across Northern Europe. The equivalent event in North America was the rebound of Hudson Bay, as it shrank from its larger, immediate post-glacial Tyrrell Sea phase, to near its present boundaries. Climate has been stable over the Holocene. Ice core
The banteng known as tembadau, is a species of wild cattle found in Southeast Asia. Banteng have been domesticated in several places in Southeast Asia, there are around 1.5 million domestic banteng, which are called Bali cattle. These animals are used for their meat. Banteng have been introduced to Northern Australia, where they have established stable feral populations; these subspecies are recognised: Javan banteng: Found on Bali in Indonesia. Bornean banteng: From Borneo, they are smaller than Java banteng and the horns are steeper. Burma banteng: In Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos and may be in India, but extinct in Bangladesh; this subspecies is recognised by the IUCN, but not by Mammal Species of the World, 3rd edition. The banteng is similar in size to domesticated cattle, measuring 1.55 to 1.65 m tall at the shoulder and 2.45–3.5 m in total length, including a tail 60 cm long. Body weight can range from 400 to 900 kg, it exhibits sexual dimorphism, allowing the sexes to be distinguished by colour and size.
In mature males, the short-haired coat is blue-black or dark chestnut in colour, while in females and young it is chestnut with a dark dorsal stripe. Both males and females have white stockings on their lower legs, a white rump, a white muzzle, white spots above the eyes; the build is similar to that of domesticated cattle, but with a comparatively slender neck and small head, a ridge on the back above the shoulders. The horns of females are short and curved, pointing inward at the tips, while those of males arc upwards, growing 60 to 75 cm long, being connected by a horn-like bald patch on the forehead. Banteng live in sparse forest where they feed on grasses, fruit and young branches; the banteng is active both night and day, but in places where humans are common, they adopt a nocturnal schedule. Banteng tend to gather in herds of two to 30 members; each herd contains only one adult bull. Mating occurs from May to birth from March to April. Cows give birth to one calf after a gestation period of 9.5 month.
Lifespan is 16 to 20 years in the wild. The wild banteng is classified as Endangered by the IUCN; the populations on the Asian mainland have decreased by about 80% in the last decades. The total number of wild banteng is estimated to about 5,000-8,000 animals. No population has more than 500 animals, only a few have more than 50. Reasons for the population decline are reduction of habitat, hybridisation with domesticated cattle, infections with cattle diseases; the most important stronghold for the species is Java with the biggest populations in Ujung Kulon National Park and Baluran National Park. The biggest population on the mainland is found in Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuary in Thailand. Another larger population lives in Kaeng Krachan. Borneo has still a few hundred bantengs, more than a hundred of which occur in Kulamba Wildlife Reserve in Sabah; the banteng is the second endangered species to be cloned, the first to survive for more than a week. Scientists at Advanced Cell Technology in Worcester, MA, U.
S. extracted DNA from banteng cells kept in the San Diego Zoo's "Frozen Zoo" facility, transferred it into eggs from domesticated cattle, a process called somatic cell nuclear transfer. Thirty embryos were created and sent to Trans Ova Genetics, which implanted the fertilized eggs in domestic cattle. Two were delivered by Caesarian section; the first was born on 1 April 2003, the second two days later. The second was euthanized suffering from large-offspring syndrome, but the first survived and lived for seven years at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, where it died in April 2010. A program to cross-breed domestic and wild banteng began in June 2011, resulting in five pregnancies; this was intended to help improve the productivity of the domesticated breed. The wild bulls were transported from the Baluran National Park in Situbondo; the domesticated form of the banteng was first introduced to Australia in 1849 with the establishment of a British military outpost called Port Essington on the Cobourg Peninsula.
Twenty animals were taken to the western Arnhem Land, in present-day Northern Territory, as a source of meat. A year after the outpost's establishment, poor conditions including crop failure and tropical disease led to its abandonment. On the departure of British troops, the banteng were released from their grazing pastures and allowed to form a feral population. By the 1960s, researchers realized that a population of about 1,500 individuals had developed in the tropical forests of the Cobourg Peninsula. Since their introduction in 1849, the population has not strayed far from its initial point of domesticated life; as of 2007, the initial population had grown from only 20 in 1849 to 8,000-10,000 and is used for sport hunting and by Aboriginal subsistence hunters. The banteng of the Cobourg Peninsula have developed different life processes than their domesticated counterparts. Growth over lifetime is sexually dimorphic. Furthermore, females reach maximum body mass in three to four years, while males take
An antelope is a member of a number of even-toed ungulate species indigenous to various regions in Africa and Eurasia. Antelopes comprise a wastebasket taxon within the family Bovidae, encompassing those Old World species that are not cattle, buffalo, bison, or goats. A group of antelope is called a herd; the English word "antelope" first appeared in 1417 and is derived from the Old French antelop, itself derived from Medieval Latin antalopus, which in turn comes from the Byzantine Greek word anthólops, first attested in Eustathius of Antioch, according to whom it was a fabulous animal "haunting the banks of the Euphrates savage, hard to catch and having long, saw-like horns capable of cutting down trees". It derives from Greek anthos and ops meaning "beautiful eye" or alluding to the animals' long eyelashes. This, may be a folk etymology; the word talopus and calopus, from Latin, came to be used in heraldry. In 1607, it was first used for cervine animals; the 91 species, most of which are native to Africa, occur in about 30 genera.
The classification of tribes or subfamilies within Bovidae is still a matter of debate, with several alternative systems proposed. Antelope are not a taxonomically defined group; the term is used to describe all members of the family Bovidae that do not fall under the category of sheep, cattle, or goats. All species of the Alcelaphinae, Hippotraginae, Cephalophinae, many Bovinae, the grey rhebok, the impala are called antelopes. More species of antelope are native to Africa than to any other continent exclusively in savannahs, with 20-35 species co-occurring over much of East Africa; because savannah habitat in Africa has expanded and contracted five times over the last three million years, the fossil record indicates this is when most extant species evolved, it is believed that isolation in refugia during contractions was a major driver of this diversification. Other species occur in Asia: the Arabian Peninsula is home to the Arabian oryx and Dorcas gazelle. India is home to the nilgai, blackbuck, Tibetan antelope, four-horned antelope, while Russia and Central Asia have the Tibetan antelope, saiga.
No antelope species is native to Australasia or Antarctica, nor do any extant species occur in the Americas, though the nominate saiga subspecies occurred in North America during the Pleistocene. North America is home to the native pronghorn, which taxonomists do not consider a member of the antelope group, but, locally referred to as such. In Europe, several extinct species occur in the fossil record, the saiga was found during the Pleistocene but did not persist into the Holocene, except in Russian Kalmykia and Astrakhan Oblast. Many species of antelopes have been imported to other parts of the world the United States, for exotic game hunting. With some species possessing spectacular leaping and evasive skills, individuals may escape. Texas in particular has many game ranches, as well as habitats and climates, that are hospitable to African and Asian plains antelope species. Accordingly, wild populations of blackbuck antelope and nilgai may be found in Texas. Antelope live in a wide range of habitats.
Numerically, most live in the African savannahs. However, many species are more secluded, such as the forest antelope, as well as the extreme cold-living saiga, the desert-adapted Arabian oryx, the rocky koppie-living klipspringer, semiaquatic sitatunga. Species living in forests, woodland, or bush tend to be sedentary, but many of the plains species undertake long migrations; these enable grass-eating species to follow the rains and thereby their food supply. The gnus and gazelles of East Africa perform some of the most impressive mass migratory circuits of all mammals. Antelopes vary in size. For example, a male common eland can measure 178 cm at the shoulder and weigh 950 kg, whereas an adult royal antelope may stand only 24 cm at the shoulder and weigh a mere 1.5 kg. Not for animals with long, slender yet powerful legs, many antelopes have long strides and can run fast; some are adapted to inhabiting rock koppies and crags. Both dibatags and gerenuks habitually stand on their two hind legs to reach acacia and other tree foliage.
Different antelope have different body types. Duikers are short, bush-dwelling antelope that can pick through dense foliage and dive into the shadows rapidly. Gazelles and springbok are known for their leaping abilities. Larger antelope, such as nilgai and kudus, are capable of jumping 2.4 m or greater, although their running speed is restricted by their greater mass. Antelope have a wide variety of coverings. In most species, the coat is some variation of a brown colour with white or pale underbodies. Exceptions include the zebra-marked zebra duiker, the grey and white Jentink's duiker, the black lechwe. Most of the "spiral-horned" antelopes have vertical stripes on their backs. Many desert and semidesert species are pale, some silvery or whitish. Common features of various gazelles are white rumps, which flash a warning to others when they run from danger, dark stripes midbody; the springbok has a pouch of white, brushlike hairs running along its ba