Of the ruminants, Brazil has only four or five species of Cervidae, which are likewise common to other countries of South America.
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.
WATER-DEER, a small member of the deer-tribe from northern China differing from all other Cervidae except the muskdeer (with which it has no affinity) by the absence of antlers in both sexes.
FALLOW-DEER (that is, DUN Deer, in contradistinction to the red deer, Cervus [Dama] dama), a medium-sized representative of the family Cervidae, characterized by its expanded or palmated antlers, which generally have no bez-tine, rather long tail (black above and white below), and a coat spotted with white in summer but uniformly coloured in winter.
The group at the present day is divided into Girafjidae (giraffe and okapi), Cervidae (deer), Antilocapridae (prongbuck), and Bovidae (oxen, sheep, goats, antelopes, &c.).
Cervidae, of which it not improbably indicates the ancestral type.
The above-mentioned four types of skull appendages are generally regarded as severally characteristic of as many family groups, namely the Giraffidae, Cervidae, Antilocapridae and Bovidae.
In the deer-tribe, or Cervidae, the lower canine, as in the two following families, is simple and similar to the incisors.
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.
Dier, &c., probably from a root dhus-, to breathe), originally the name of one of two British species, the red-deer or the fallow-deer, but now extended to all the members of the family Cervidae, in the section Pecora of the suborder Artiodactyla of the order Ungulata.
As regards the deer-family (Cervidae), which is unknown in Africa south of the Sahara, it is quite evident that it originated in the northern half of the Old World, whence it reached North America by the Bering Sea route, and eventually travelled into South America.
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.
The Cervidae are distributed all over Europe, Asia, Northern Africa and America, but are unknown in Africa south of the Sahara.