“It has been justly remarked” said C.P. Groves, “that the taxonomy of the genus Gazella is one of the most confused in the whole class Mammalia.” In the last century the horned ungulates were divided into the various bovids then recognized: the sheep, goats, oxen, and all the rest, the antelopes. It soon became apparent, however, that the latter group included so many divergent animal forms that subdivision was necessary, and even today scientists are not finished with this task. Periodically they regroup different species of antelopes because new features have been recognized, skull shapes have been interpreted differently, or for other apparently cogent reasons that escape most of us with only a peripheral interest. Gazelles are, however, true antelopes and modern zoologists such as Walther recognize some 17 species. But whatever questions remain concerning the descendancy of gazelles may remain forever unanswered since a number of species have already become extinct and others are near that point. Most studies on gazelles can presently be conducted from skins and skulls only and often their origin is imprecisely or totally unknown.
KeywordsSentinel Species Today Scientist Scent Gland Acacia Tree Skull Shape
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