MARKHOR (" snake-eater"), the Pushtu name of a large Himalayan wild goat (Capra falconeri), characterized by its spirally twisted horns, and long shaggy winter coat.
From the Pir-Panjal range of Kashmir the markhor extends westwards into Baltistan, Astor, Hunza, Afghanistan and the trans-Indus ranges of the Punjab.
It is true that many tame goats show spirally twisted horns recalling those of the under-mentioned Asiatic markhor; but in nearly all such instances it will be found that the spiral twists in the opposite direction.
The ibex are connected with the wild goat by means of Capra nubiana, in which the front edge of the horns is thinner than in either the European C. ibex or the Asiatic C. sibirica; while the Spanish C. pyrenaica shows how the ibex-type of horn may pass into the spirally twisted one distinctive of the markhor, C. falconeri.
The short-horned Asiatic goats of the genus Hemitragus receive mention in the article Tahr; but it may be added that fossil species of the same genus are known from the Lower Pliocene formations of India, which have also yielded remains of a goat allied to the markhor of the Himalayas.
The Himalayan varieties of the markhor and ibex are abundant in Kafiristan.
Nahura), and the markhor and tahr (both wild goats), also inhabit the Himalayas.
As regards wild goats other than the representatives of Capra hircus, the members of the ibex-group are noticed under Ibex, while another distinctive type receives mention under Markhor.