A goat antelope is any
of the species of mostly medium-sized herbivores that make up
the subfamily Caprinae or the single species in subfamily Panthalopinae.
The domestic sheep and domestic goat are both part of the goat
antelope group, and the group itself is part of the family Bovidae,
which in other branches contains the antelopes and domestic cattle.
The goat antelope or caprid group is known from as early as the
Miocene, but did not reach its greatest diversity until the recent
ice ages, when many of its members became specialised for marginal,
often extreme, environments: mountains, deserts, and the sub-Arctic
region. In consequence, although most goat antelopes are gregarious
and have a fairly stocky build, they diverge in many other ways.
The Musk Ox became adapted to the extreme cold of the tundra;
the Mountain Goat of North America specialised in very rugged
terrain; the Urial, occupied a largely infertile area from Kashmir
to Iran, including much desert country. The moufflon is the ancestor
of modern domestic sheep.
Many of the ice
age species are now extinct, probably largely because of human
interaction. Of the survivors: five are classified as endangered,
eight as vulnerable, seven as of concern and needing conservation
measures but at lower risk, and seven species are secure. Members
of the group vary considerably in size, from just over a metre
for a full-grown Goral to almost 2.5 metres for a Musk Ox, and
from under 30 kg to more than 350 kg. Musk Oxen in captivity have
reached over 650 kg.
Above Images Come From The National Parks Service