Rendiconti Lincei

, Volume 2, Issue 4, pp 425–436 | Cite as

Specific identity and taxonomic position of the extinct Quagga

  • Augusto Azzaroli
  • Roscoe Stanyon


The present paper discusses the specific identity of two African zebras: the quagga,Equus quagga, exterminated in the last century, and the now widely distributed speciesEquus burchelli. Several authors, on the ground of morphology and more recently also on mitochondrial DNA analysis, expressed the opinion that these two zebras are conspecific. We contend that deductions based on mitochondrial DNA analysis are not cogent, while morphological data give evidence that Quagga and Burchell’s Zebra are two distinct, not closely related species.

Key words

Zebras Mammalia Equidae 

Identità spedfica e posizione tassonomica del Quagga estinto


Viene discussa l’identità specifica di due zebre africane: il quagga, sterminato nel secolo scorso, e la specie tuttora largamente diffusaEquus burchelli. Vari autori, basandosi su analisi morfologiche e recentemente anche su analisi del DNA mitocondriale, hanno espresso l’opinione che queste due zebre appartengano ad un’unica specie. Le deduzioni tratte dal DNA mitocondriale non risultano probative mentre i dati morfologici dimostrano che quagga e zebra di Burchell sono due specie distinte, non strettamente imparentate tra loro.


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Copyright information

© Accademia nazionale dei Lincei 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Augusto Azzaroli
    • 1
  • Roscoe Stanyon
    • 2
  1. 1.Dipartimento di Scienze della TerraUniversita degli Studi di FircnzeFirfenze
  2. 2.Istituto di Antropologia FisicaUniversit’ degli Studi di GenevaGenova

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