Family Bovidae (Hollow-horned Ruminants)

By: , and 



Probably the single most eye-catching aspect of the current volume is the explosion of species recognized in the family Bovidae (Hollow-horned Ruminants). In 2005, the third edition of Mammal Species of the World listed 143 species in 50 genera of Bovidae. That list, prepared by the late Peter Grubb, was somewhat traditional and provisional, as he was engaged with his long-time colleague, Colin Groves, in a substantial revision of ungulate taxonomy. Their work, which will be published later this year, is the culmination of years of study of this important and wide-ranging family by these two venerable authorities. Colin Groves is the lead author for Bovidae in this volume of HMW, and in it we recognize all 279 species in 54 genera that are documented in his and Peter Grubb’s ground-breaking work.

At the root of this expanded number of recognized species is our changing view of the modern species concept. Like a growing number of taxonomists, Groves favors a phylogenetic species concept, which he defines as the smallest population or aggregation of populations that has fixed heritable differences from other such populations or aggregations. This is in contrast to the traditional biological species concept, which requires reproductive isolation between such populations. The difficulty in determining that reproductive isolation led to an underrepresentation of the number of species in many groups. Clearly there remain problems in determining which differences between populations are heritable, and the system used here undoubtedly will continue to be tweaked as our understanding grows. For now, this greatly expanded version of Bovidae species limits seems the best answer. One of the goals of HMW is to provide an up-to-date summary of the conservation status for every species of mammal, and this expanded species concept better enables us to explore the true conservation situation of each.

Additional publication details

Publication type Book chapter
Publication Subtype Book Chapter
Title Family Bovidae (Hollow-horned Ruminants)
ISBN 978-84-96553-77-4
Volume 2
Year Published 2015
Language English
Publisher Lynx Edicions
Contributing office(s) Coop Res Unit Atlanta
Larger Work Type Book
Larger Work Subtype Monograph
Larger Work Title Handbook of Mammals of the World, Vol. II Hoofed Mammals