Caesarea is a town in north-central Israel, which inherits its name and much of its territory from the ancient city of Caesarea Maritima. Located midway between Tel Aviv and Haifa on the coastal plain near the city of Hadera, it falls under the jurisdiction of Hof HaCarmel Regional Council. With a population of 5,127, it is the only Israeli locality managed by a private organization, the Caesarea Development Corporation, one of the most populous localities not recognized as a local council; the modern Israeli Jewish town of Caesarea was established in 1952 near the ruins of the ancient city, which received protection within the national park of Caesarea Maritima. The ancient town was built by Herod the Great about 25–13 BCE as the port city Caesarea Maritima, it served as an administrative center of Judaea Province of the Roman Empire, as the capital of the Byzantine Palaestina Prima province. Following the Muslim conquest in the 7th century, in which it was the last city of the Holy Land to fall to the Arabs, the city had an Arab majority until Crusader conquest.
It was diminished after the Mamluk conquest. In 1884, Bosniak immigrants settled there establishing a small fishing village. In 1940, kibbutz Sdot Yam was established next to the village. In February 1948 the Bosniak village was conquered by a Palmach unit commanded by Yitzhak Rabin, its people having fled following an attack by the Lehi. In 1952, the modern Jewish town of Keisariya was established near the ruins of the old city, which were made into the national park of Caesarea Maritima. Caesarea Maritima was built in Roman-ruled Judea under the Jewish client king Herod the Great during c. 20–10 BCE near the ruins of a small naval station known as Stratonos pyrgos, founded by Straton I of Sidon. It was an agricultural storehouse station in its earliest configuration. In 90 BCE, Alexander Jannaeus captured Straton's Tower as part of his policy of developing the shipbuilding industry and enlarging the Hasmonean kingdom. Straton's Tower remained a Jewish settlement for two more generations, until the area became dominated by the Romans in 63 BCE, when they declared it an autonomous city.
The pagan city underwent vast changes under Herod the Great, who renamed it Caesarea in honour of the Roman emperor, Caesar Augustus. In 22 BCE, Herod began construction of a deep sea harbor and built storerooms, wide roads, temples to Rome and Augustus, imposing public buildings; every five years the city hosted major sports competitions, gladiator games, theatrical productions in its theatre overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. When Judea became a Roman province, Caesarea Maritima served as its capital. In the 3rd century, Jewish sages exempted the city from Jewish law, or Halakha, as by this time the majority of the inhabitants were non-Jewish; the city was chiefly a commercial centre relying on trade. The Muslim historian al-Biladhuri mentions Kaisariyyah/Cæsarea as one of ten towns in Jund Filastin conquered by the Muslim Rashidun army under'Amr ibn al-'As's leadership during the 630s; the area was only farmed during the Rashidun Caliphate period until the Crusader conquest in the eleventh century.
Over time, the farms were buried under the sands shifting along the shores of the Mediterranean. Nasir-i-Khusraw noted a "beautiful Friday Mosque" in Caesarea in year 1047, "so situated that in its court you may sit and enjoy the view of all, passing on the sea." This was converted into the church of St. Peter in Crusader times. A wall which may belong to this building has been identified in modern times. Khusraw further noted that it "is a fine city, with running waters, palm-gardens, orange and citron trees, its walls are strong, it has an iron gate. There are fountains that gush out within the city." The Arab geographer Yaqut, writing in the 1220s, named Kaisariyyah as one of the principal towns in Filastîn. Caesarea was under Crusader control between 1101 and 1187 and again between 1191 and 1265. In 1251, Louis IX of France fortified the city, ordering the construction of high walls and a deep moat. However, strong walls could not keep out the sultan Baybars, who ordered his troops to scale the walls in several places enabling them to penetrate the city.
During the Mamluk era, the ruins of Caesarea Maritima by the Crusader fortress near Caesarea on the Mediterranean coast lay uninhabited. Al-Dimashqi, writing around 1300, noted. In 1664, a settlement is mentioned consisting of 100 Moroccan families, 7–8 Jewish ones. In the 18th century it again declined. In 1806, the German explorer Seetzen saw "Káisserérie" as a ruin occupied by some poor fishermen and their families. In 1870, Victor Guérin visited. Caesarea lay in ruins until the nineteenth century, when the village of Qisarya was established in 1884 by Bushnaks – immigrants from Bosnia, who built a small fishing village on the ruins of the Crusader fortress on the coast. A population list from about 1887 showed that Caesarea had 670 Muslim inhabitants, in addition to 265 Muslim inhabitants, who were noted as "Bosniaks”. Petersen, visiting the place in 1992, writes that the nineteenth-century houses were built in blocks one story high Some houses on the western side of the village, near the sea, have survived.
There were a number of mosques in the village in the nineteenth century. This mosque, located at the southern end of the city, next to the harbour, is des
African wild dog
The African wild dog known as the painted hunting dog, painted wolf, African hunting dog, Cape hunting dog or African painted dog, is a canid native to sub-Saharan Africa. It is the largest of its family in Africa, the only extant member of the genus Lycaon, distinguished from Canis by dentition specialised for a hypercarnivorous diet, a lack of dewclaws, it was classified as endangered by the IUCN in 2016, as it had disappeared from much of its original range. The 2016 population was estimated at 39 subpopulations containing 6,600 adults, only 1,400 of which were reproductive; the decline of these populations is ongoing, due to habitat fragmentation, human persecution and disease outbreaks. The African wild dog is a social animal, living in packs with separate dominance hierarchies for males and females. Uniquely among social carnivores, the females rather than the males scatter from the natal pack once sexually mature and the young are allowed to feed first on carcasses; the species is a specialised diurnal hunter of antelopes, which it catches by chasing them to exhaustion.
Like other canids, it regurgitates food for its young, but this action is extended to adults, to the point of being the bedrock of African wild dog social life. It has few natural predators, though lions are a major source of mortality and spotted hyenas are frequent kleptoparasites. Although not as prominent in African folklore or culture as other African carnivores, it has been respected in several hunter-gatherer societies those of the predynastic Egyptians and the San people; the earliest possible written reference to the species comes from Oppian, who wrote of the thoa, a hybrid between the wolf and leopard, which resembles the former in shape and the latter in colour. Solinus's Collectanea rerum memorabilium from the third century AD describes a multicoloured wolf-like animal with a mane native to Ethiopia; the species was first described scientifically in 1820 by Coenraad Temminck, after having examined a specimen taken from the coast of Mozambique. He named the animal Hyaena picta, it was recognised as a canid by Joshua Brookes in 1827, renamed Lycaon tricolor.
The root word of Lycaon is the Greek λυκαίος, meaning "wolf-like". The specific epithet pictus, which derived from the original picta, was returned to it, in conformity with the International Rules on Taxonomic Nomenclature; the English language has several names for Lycaon pictus, including painted lycaon, African wild dog, African hunting dog, Cape hunting dog, painted dog, ornate wolf and painted wolf. The latter name is being promoted by some conservationists as a way of rebranding the species, as "wild dog" has several negative connotations that could be detrimental to its image; the name "African wild dog" is still used. The name "painted wolf" is encouraged because it conveys more that the African wild dog is a wild animal that does not behave like a domestic dog; the oldest L. pictus fossil was found in HaYonim Cave, Israel. The evolution of the African wild dog is poorly understood due to the scarcity of fossil finds; some authors consider the extinct Canis subgenus Xenocyon as ancestral to both the genus Lycaon and the genus Cuon, which lived throughout Eurasia and Africa from the Early Pleistocene to the early Middle Pleistocene.
Others propose. The species Canis falconeri shared the African wild dog's absent first metacarpal, though its dentition was still unspecialised; this connection was rejected by one author because C. falconeri's missing metacarpal was a poor indication of phylogenetic closeness to the African wild dog and the dentition was too different to imply ancestry. Another ancestral candidate is the Plio-Pleistocene L. sekowei of South Africa on the basis of distinct accessory cusps on its premolars and anterior accessory cuspids on its lower premolars. These adaptions are found only in Lycaon among living canids, which shows the same adaptations to a hypercarnivorous diet. L. sekowei had not yet lost the first metacarpal absent in L. pictus and was more robust than the modern species, having 10% larger teeth. Paleontologist George G. Simpson placed L. pictus in the subfamily Simocyoninae, along with Cuon alpinus and Speothos venaticus, on the basis of all three species having trenchant carnassials. This grouping was disputed by Juliet Clutton-Brock, who argued that, other than dentition, too few similarities exist between the three species to warrant classifying them in a single subfamily.
The species' molecular genetics indicate that it is related to genus Canis. Phylogenetic studies place L. pictus and Cuon alpinus into a clade of "wolf-like canids" alongside the extant members of Canis, including C. simensis, C. aureus, C. anthus, C. latrans, C. lupus, C. rufus and the more basal C. adustus and C. mesomelas. In 2018, whole genome sequencing was used to compare the dhole with the African hunting dog. There was strong evidence of ancient genetic admixture between the two. Today, their ranges are remote from each other, however during the Pleistocene era the dhole could be found as far west as Europe; the study proposes that the dhole's distribution may have once included the Middle East, from where it may have admixed with the African hunting dog in North Africa. However, there is no evidence of the dhole having existed in the Middle North Africa; as of 2005, five subspecies are recognised by MSW3: Nevertheless, although the species is genetic
Hyenas or hyaenas are any feliform carnivoran mammals of the family Hyaenidae. With only four extant species, it is the fifth-smallest biological family in the Carnivora, one of the smallest in the class Mammalia. Despite their low diversity, hyenas are vital components of most African ecosystems. Although phylogenetically they are closer to felines and viverrids, belong to the feliform category, hyenas are behaviourally and morphologically similar to canines in several elements of convergent evolution. Both eat food and may store it, their calloused feet with large, nonretractable claws are adapted for running and making sharp turns. However, the hyenas' grooming, scent marking, defecating habits and parental behaviour are consistent with the behaviour of other feliforms. Spotted hyenas may kill as many as 95% of the animals they eat, while striped hyenas are scavengers. Hyenas are known to drive off larger predators, like lions, from their kills, despite having a reputation in popular culture for being cowardly.
Hyenas are nocturnal animals, but sometimes venture from their lairs in the early-morning hours. With the exception of the social spotted hyena, hyenas are not gregarious animals, though they may live in family groups and congregate at kills. Hyenas first arose in Eurasia during the Miocene period from viverrid-like ancestors, diversified into two distinct types: built dog-like hyenas and robust bone-crushing hyenas. Although the dog-like hyenas thrived 15 million years ago, they became extinct after a change in climate along with the arrival of canids into Eurasia. Of the dog-like hyena lineage, only the insectivorous aardwolf survived, while the bone-crushing hyenas became the undisputed top scavengers of Eurasia and Africa. Hyenas feature prominently in the mythology of human cultures that live alongside them. Hyenas are viewed as frightening and worthy of contempt. In some cultures, hyenas are thought to influence people’s spirits, rob graves, steal livestock and children. Other cultures associate them with witchcraft, using their body parts in traditional African medicine.
Hyenas originated in the jungles of Miocene Eurasia 22 million years ago, when most early feliform species were still arboreal. The first ancestral hyenas were similar to the modern banded palm civet; the lineage of Plioviverrops prospered, gave rise to descendants with longer legs and more pointed jaws, a direction similar to that taken by canids in North America. The descendants of Plioviverrops reached their peak 15 million years ago, with more than 30 species having been identified. Unlike most modern hyena species, which are specialised bone-crushers, these dog-like hyenas were nimble-bodied, wolfish animals; the dog-like hyenas were numerous. The decline of the dog-like hyenas began 5–7 million years ago during a period of climate change, exacerbated when canids crossed the Bering land bridge to Eurasia. One species, Chasmaporthetes ossifragus, managed to cross the land bridge into North America, being the only hyena to do so. Chasmopothertes managed to survive for some time in North America by deviating from the cursorial and bone-crushing niches monopolised by canids, developing into a cheetah-like sprinter.
Most of the dog-like hyenas had died off by 1.5 million years ago. By 10–14 million years ago, the hyena family had split into two distinct groups: dog-like hyenas and bone-crushing hyenas; the arrival of the ancestral bone-crushing hyenas coincided with the decline of the built family Percrocutidae. The bone-crushing hyenas survived the changes in climate and the arrival of canids, which wiped out the dog-like hyenas, though they never crossed into North America, as their niche there had been taken by the dog subfamily Borophaginae. By 5 million years ago, the bone-crushing hyenas had become the dominant scavengers of Eurasia feeding on large herbivore carcasses felled by sabre-toothed cats. One genus, was a 200 kg mega-scavenger that could splinter the bones of elephants. With the decline of large herbivores by the late ice age, Pachycrocuta was replaced by the smaller Crocuta; the four extant species are. The aardwolf can trace its lineage directly back to Plioviverrops 15 million years ago, is the only survivor of the dog-like hyena lineage.
Its success is attributed to its insectivorous diet, for which it faced no competition from canids crossing from North America. Its unrivaled ability to digest the terpene excretions from soldier termites is a modification of the strong digestive system its ancestors used to digest fetid carrion; the striped hyena may have evolved from H. namaquensis of Pliocene Africa. Striped hyena fossils are common in Africa, with records going back as far as the Middle Pleistocene and to the Villafranchian; as fossil striped hyenas are absent from the Mediterranean region, it is that the species is a late invader to Eurasia, having spread outside
The Antilopinae are a subfamily of Bovidae. The gazelles, springboks, gerenuks and Central Asian gazelles are referred to as "true antelopes", are 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, Ethiopia, Somalia and Tanzania; the saigas and Tibetan antelopes are related to true antelopes and goats, but placed in their own subfamily, Saiginae. These animals inhabit much of western Asia; the dwarf antelopes are sometimes placed in a separate subfamily and live in sub-Saharan Africa. Family Bovidae Subfamily Antilopinae Tribe Antilopini Genus Ammodorcas Dibatag Ammodorcas clarkei Genus Antidorcas Springbok Antidorcas marsupialis Genus Antilope Blackbuck Antilope cervicapra Genus Eudorcas Mongalla gazelle Eudorcas albonotata Red gazelle Eudorcas rufina † Red-fronted gazelle Eudorcas rufrifrons Thomson's gazelle Eudorcas thomsoni Heuglin's gazelle Eudorcas tilonura Genus Gazella Subgenus Deprezia Gazella psolea † Subgenus Gazella Arabian gazelle Gazella arabica European gazelle Gazella borbonica † Chinkara or Indian gazelle Gazella benettii Queen of Sheba's gazelle Gazella bilkis † Dorcas gazelle Gazella dorcas Mountain gazelle Gazella gazella Saudi gazelle Gazella saudiya † Speke's gazelle Gazella spekei Subgenus Trachelocele Cuvier's gazelle Gazella cuvieri Rhim gazelle or slender-horned gazelle Gazella leptoceros Goitered gazelle Gazella subgutturosa Genus Litocranius Gerenuk Litocranius walleri Genus Nanger Dama gazelle Nanger dama Grant's gazelle Nanger granti Soemmerring's gazelle Nanger soemmerringii Genus Procapra Zeren Procapra gutturosa Goa Procapra picticaudata Przewalski's gazelle Procapra przewalskii Tribe Saigini Genus Pantholops Tibetan antelope Pantholops hodgsonii Genus Saiga Saiga Saiga tatarica Tribe Neotragini Genus Dorcatragus Beira Dorcatragus megalotis Genus Madoqua Günther's dik-dik Madoqua guntheri Kirk's dik-dik Madoqua kirkii Silver dik-dik Madoqua piacentinii Salt's dik-dik Madoqua saltiana Genus Neotragus Bates's pygmy antelope Neotragus batesi Suni Neotragus moschatus Royal antelope Neotragus pygmaeus Genus Oreotragus Klipspringer Oreotragus oreotragus Genus Ourebia Oribi Ourebia ourebi Genus Raphicerus Steenbok Raphicerus campestris Cape grysbok Raphicerus melanotis Sharpe's grysbok Raphicerus sharpei Antelope
Crocodiles or true crocodiles are large semiaquatic reptiles that live throughout the tropics in Africa, the Americas and Australia. Crocodylinae, all of whose members are considered true crocodiles, is classified as a biological subfamily. A broader sense of the term crocodile, Crocodylidae that includes Tomistoma, is not used in this article; the term crocodile here applies to only the species within the subfamily of Crocodylinae. The term is sometimes used more loosely to include all extant members of the order Crocodilia, which includes the alligators and caimans, the gharial and false gharial, all other living and fossil Crocodylomorpha. Although they appear similar, crocodiles and the gharial belong to separate biological families; the gharial, with its narrow snout, is easier to distinguish, while morphological differences are more difficult to spot in crocodiles and alligators. The most obvious external differences are visible in the head, with crocodiles having narrower and longer heads, with a more V-shaped than a U-shaped snout compared to alligators and caimans.
Another obvious trait is that the upper and lower jaws of the crocodiles are the same width, the teeth in the lower jaw fall along the edge or outside the upper jaw when the mouth is closed. When the crocodile's mouth is closed, the large fourth tooth in the lower jaw fits into a constriction in the upper jaw. For hard-to-distinguish specimens, the protruding tooth is the most reliable feature to define the species' family. Crocodiles have more webbing on the toes of the hind feet and can better tolerate saltwater due to specialized salt glands for filtering out salt, which are present, but non-functioning, in alligators. Another trait that separates crocodiles from other crocodilians is their much higher levels of aggression. Crocodile size, morphology and ecology differ somewhat among species. However, they have many similarities in these areas as well. All crocodiles are semiaquatic and tend to congregate in freshwater habitats such as rivers, lakes and sometimes in brackish water and saltwater.
They are carnivorous animals, feeding on vertebrates such as fish, reptiles and mammals, sometimes on invertebrates such as molluscs and crustaceans, depending on species and age. All crocodiles are tropical species that, unlike alligators, are sensitive to cold, they separated from other crocodilians during the Eocene epoch, about 55 million years ago. Many species are at the risk of some being classified as critically endangered; the word "crocodile" comes from the Ancient Greek κροκόδιλος, "lizard", used in the phrase ho krokódilos tou potamoú, "the lizard of the river". There are several variant Greek forms of the word attested, including the form κροκόδειλος found cited in many English reference works. In the Koine Greek of Roman times and crocodeilos would have been pronounced identically, either or both may be the source of the Latinized form crocodīlus used by the ancient Romans. Crocodilos or crocodeilos is a compound of krokè, drilos/dreilos, although drilos is only attested as a colloquial term for "penis".
It is ascribed to Herodotus, describes the basking habits of the Egyptian crocodile. The form crocodrillus is attested in Medieval Latin, it is not clear whether this derives from alternative Greco-Latin forms. A corrupted form cocodrille was borrowed into Middle English as cocodril; the Modern English form crocodile was adapted directly from the Classical Latin crocodīlus in the 16th century, replacing the earlier form. The use of -y- in the scientific name Crocodylus is a corruption introduced by Laurenti. A total of 15 extant species have been recognized. Further genetic study is needed for the confirmation of proposed species under the genus Osteolaemus, monotypic. A crocodile's physical traits allow it to be a successful predator, its external morphology is a sign of its predatory lifestyle. Its streamlined body enables it to swim swiftly. Crocodiles have webbed feet which, though not used to propel them through the water, allow them to make fast turns and sudden moves in the water or initiate swimming.
Webbed feet are an advantage in shallow water. Crocodiles have a palatal flap, a rigid tissue at the back of the mouth that blocks the entry of water; the palate has a special path from the nostril to the glottis. The nostrils are closed during submergence. Like other archosaurs, crocodilians are diapsid; the walls of the braincase lack supratemporal and postfrontal bones. Their tongues are not held in place by a membrane that limits movement. Crocodiles have smooth skin on their bellies and sides, while their dorsal surfaces are armoured with large osteoderms; the armoured skin is thick and rugged, providing some protection. They are still able to absorb heat through this armour, as a network of small capillaries allows blood through the scales to absorb heat. Crocodilian scales have pores believed to be sensory in function, analogous to the lateral line in fishes, they are seen on their upper an
Arabs are a population inhabiting the Arab world. They live in the Arab states in Western Asia, North Africa, the Horn of Africa and western Indian Ocean islands, they form a significant diaspora, with Arab communities established around the world. The first mention of Arabs is from the mid-ninth century BCE as a tribal people in eastern and southern Syria and the north of the Arabian Peninsula; the Arabs appear to have been under the vassalage of the Neo-Assyrian Empire, the succeeding Neo-Babylonian, Achaemenid and Parthian empires. Arab tribes, most notably the Ghassanids and Lakhmids, begin to appear in the southern Syrian Desert from the mid 3rd century CE onward, during the mid to stages of the Roman and Sasanian empires. Before the expansion of the Rashidun Caliphate, "Arab" referred to any of the nomadic and settled Semitic people from the Arabian Peninsula, Syrian Desert, North and Lower Mesopotamia. Today, "Arab" refers to a large number of people whose native regions form the Arab world due to the spread of Arabs and the Arabic language throughout the region during the early Muslim conquests of the 7th and 8th centuries and the subsequent Arabisation of indigenous populations.
The Arabs forged the Rashidun, Umayyad and the Fatimid caliphates, whose borders reached southern France in the west, China in the east, Anatolia in the north, the Sudan in the south. This was one of the largest land empires in history. In the early 20th century, the First World War signalled the end of the Ottoman Empire; this resulted in the defeat and dissolution of the empire and the partition of its territories, forming the modern Arab states. Following the adoption of the Alexandria Protocol in 1944, the Arab League was founded on 22 March 1945; the Charter of the Arab League endorsed the principle of an Arab homeland whilst respecting the individual sovereignty of its member states. Today, Arabs inhabit the 22 Arab states within the Arab League: Algeria, Comoros, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Mauritania, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, Yemen; the Arab world stretches around 13 million km2, from the Atlantic Ocean in the west to the Arabian Sea in the east, from the Mediterranean Sea in the north to the Horn of Africa and the Indian Ocean in the southeast.
Beyond the boundaries of the League of Arab States, Arabs can be found in the global diaspora. The ties that bind Arabs are ethnic, cultural, identical, nationalist and political; the Arabs have their own customs, architecture, literature, dance, cuisine, society and mythology. The total number of Arabs are an estimated 450 million. Arabs are a diverse group in terms of religious practices. In the pre-Islamic era, most Arabs followed polytheistic religions; some tribes had adopted Christianity or Judaism, a few individuals, the hanifs observed monotheism. Today, about 93% of Arabs are adherents of Islam, there are sizable Christian minorities. Arab Muslims belong to the Sunni, Shiite and Alawite denominations. Arab Christians follow one of the Eastern Christian Churches, such as the Greek Orthodox or Greek Catholic churches. Other smaller minority religions are followed, such as the Bahá'í Faith and Druze. Arabs have influenced and contributed to diverse fields, notably the arts and architecture, philosophy, ethics, politics, music, cinema, medicine and technology in the ancient and modern history.
The earliest documented use of the word "Arab" to refer to a people appears in the Kurkh Monoliths, an Akkadian language record of the ninth century BCE Assyrian conquest of Aram, which referred to Bedouins of the Arabian Peninsula under King Gindibu, who fought as part of a coalition opposed to Assyria. Listed among the booty captured by the army of king Shalmaneser III of Assyria in the Battle of Qarqar are 1000 camels of "Gi-in-di-bu'u the ar-ba-a-a" or " Gindibu belonging to the Arab; the related word ʾaʿrāb is used to refer to Bedouins today, in contrast to ʿarab which refers to Arabs in general. The term Arab and ʾaʿrāb are mentioned around 40 times in pre-Islamic Sabaean inscriptions; the term Arab occurs in the titles of the Himyarite kings from the time of'Abu Karab Asad until MadiKarib Ya'fur. The term ʾaʿrāb is driven from the term Arab according to Sabaean grammar; the term is mentioned in Quranic verses referring to people who were living in Madina and it might be a south Arabian loan-word into Quranic language.
The oldest surviving indication of an Arab national identity is an inscription made in an archaic form of Arabic in 328 using the Nabataean alphabet, which refers to Imru' al-Qays ibn'Amr as "King of all the Arabs". Herodotus refers to the Arabs in the Sinai, southern Palestine, the frankincense region. Other ancient Greek historians like Agatharchides, Diodorus Siculus and Strabo mention Arabs living in Mesopotamia, in Egypt, southern Jordan, the Syrian steppe and in eastern Arabia. Inscriptions dating to the 6th century BCE in Yemen include the term "Arab"; the most popular Arab account holds that the word "Arab" came from an eponymous father called Ya'rub, the first to speak Arabic. A
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