ROCKY MOUNTAIN GOAT, or White Goat (Oreamnus montanus), a North American hollow-horned ruminant of the family Bovidae, distinguished by its white colour.
The Bovidae, or hollow-horned ruminants, are represented by several genera of antelopes, and by species of true Bos - such as B.
MUSK-OX, also known as musk-buffalo and musk-sheep, an Arctic American ruminant of the family Bovidae, now representing a genus and sub-family by itself.
BOVIDAE, the name of the family of hollow-horned ruminant mammals typified by the common ox (Bos taurus), and specially characterized by the presence on the skulls of the males or of both sexes of a pair of bony projections, or cores, covered in life with hollow sheaths of horn, which are never branched, and at all events after a very early stage of existence are permanently retained.
The Bovidae comprise a great number of genera and species, and include the oxen, sheep, goats, antelopes and certain other kinds which come under neither of these designations.
In geographical distribution the Bovidae present a remarkable contrast to the deer tribe, or Cervidae.
Both of these families are distributed over the whole of the northern hemisphere, but whereas the Cervidae are absent from Africa south of the Sahara and well represented in South America, the Bovidae are unknown in the latter area, but are extraordinarily abundant in Africa.
The Bovidae are divided into a number of sections, or subfamilies, each of which is briefly noticed in the present article, while fuller mention of some of the more important representatives of these is made in other articles.
The second group, or Caprinae, includes the sheep and goats, which are smaller animals than most of the Bovidae, generally with horns in both sexes, but those of the females small.
The group at the present day is divided into Girafjidae (giraffe and okapi), Cervidae (deer), Antilocapridae (prongbuck), and Bovidae (oxen, sheep, goats, antelopes, &c.).
Although the more typical goats are markedly distinct from sheep, there is, both as regards wild and domesticated forms, an almost complete gradation from goats to sheep, so that it is exceedingly difficult to define either group. The position of the genus Capra (to all the members of which, as well as some allied species, the name "goat" in its wider sense is applicable) in the family Bovidae is indicated in the article Bovidae, and some of the distinctions between goats and sheep are mentioned in the article Sheep. Here then it will suffice to mention that goats are characterized by the strong and offensive odour of the males, which are furnished with a beard on the chin; while as a general rule glands are present between the middle toes of the fore feet only.
Gadow is of opinion that the antlers of the deer, the hornlike protuberances on the skull of the giraffe, and the true horns of the prongbuck and other hollow-horned ruminants (Bovidae) are all different stages of evolution from a single common type: the antlers of the deer being the most primitive, and the horns of the Bovidae the most specialized.
The Bovidae are thus brought into nearer relationship with the American prongbuck (the only living ruminant which sheds its horn-cover in the adult condition) than has generally been supposed.
If, therefore, Antilocapra deserves to be separated as a family from the Bovidae, the same can scarcely be refused for Merycodus.
By many modern writers the American prongbuck, pronghorn or " antelope," alone forming the genus Antilocapra, is regarded as representing merely a sub-family of the Bovidae, to which latter group the animal is structurally akin.
Lastly, we have the great family of hollow-horned ruminants or Bovidae, in which the horns (present in the males at least of all the existing species) take the form of simple non-deciduous hollow sheaths growing upon bony cores.
The Bovidae form a most extensive family, with members widely distributed throughout the Old World, with the exception of the Australian region; but in America they are less numerous, and confined to the Arctic and northern temperate regions, no species being indigenous either to South or Central America.
It has already been pointed out that the Cervidae originated in the northern continent of the Old World; and it has been suggested that the Bovidae were developed in Africa.
The characteristics of the sub-family Bovinae, or typical section of the family Bovidae, are given in the article Bovidae; for the systematic position of that family see Pecora.
An African origin has also been suggested for the hollow-horned ruminants (Bovidae); and if this were substantiated it would explain the abundance of that family in Africa and the absence from the heart of that continent of the deer-tribe.
The Antilocapridae (prongbuck), whose relationships appear to be rather with the Cervidae than with the Bovidae, are on the other hand apparently a North American group. The chevrotains (Tragulidae), now surviving only in West and Central Africa and tropical Asia, are conversely a purely Old World group.
While admitting, therefore, that there are several facts in favour of the theory of an African origin of the Bovidae, final judgment Notation to E to t from from or even f 8va balsa.
For the various generic types see BOVIDAE, and the special articles referred to under that heading.