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Great goatlope

By AlexSone
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Great goatlope (Gravicaper magnus)
Order: Artiodactyls (Artiodactyla)
Family: Bovids (Bovidae)
Habitat: Zinj Land, savannas and light forests at the west of subcontinent.
In human epoch ungulates of bovid family had suffered the great damage. Many of their species had been objects of hunting, and practically all wild species had suffered from destruction of inhabitancy and the expansion of territories occupied for agriculture. Subsequently the significant part of these grounds had undergone to desertification, and began even less suitable for life of ungulates. In Neocene new groups of running herbivorous mammals had appeared, and the variety of ruminant artiodactyls had reduced. In human epoch herds of various wild ruminants were replaced by monospecific herds of domestic cattle which had become extinct after people in the majority of places. But representatives of primitive breeds of domestic ruminants became ancestors of some species of Neocene ungulates. At the East-African subcontinent (Zinj Land) from feral domestic goats many kinds of goatlopes had descended; these ones became dominant herbivores of subcontinent alongside with horned suids of Porceratidae family.
In savannas at the west of Zinj Land small herds of very large ungulates similar by a constitution to domestic humped ox or eland antelope of human epoch graze. It is the most massive representative of goatlopes, the great goatlope. Its genus name “Gravicaper” means “heavy he-goat”, and emphasizes features of its anatomy. Evolution of goatlopes directed to increasing of body size is limited by presence of large horned suids at Zinj Land. In Neocene among suids a plenty of massive running forms occupying ecological niches of rhinoceroses, tapirs and bulls had appeared. Therefore great goatlope is an only exception among swift-footed gracile relatives.
Great goatlope is an ecological analogue of elands of Holocene. Growth of this animal at a shoulder is about 160 cm, and weight is up to 800 kgs. Legs are rather short, and hoofs are wide. Front and rear legs have approximately equal length, therefore back of animal is horizontal. Great goatlope runs rather slowly and prefers to live on plains with firm ground.
The large animal in conditions of a hot climate faces with a problem of heat emitting. At great goatlope on the neck “hanger” develops – wide plica of skin stretched from chin up to back edge of thorax. This skin is penetrated with blood vessels, and in day heat they dilate, giving to air surplus of heat.
Skin of great goatlope is covered with very short light grey wool; from apart its wool seems velvety. At young animals wool is rather long and darker, rather than at adults. At adult animals long black hair growing on the bottom edge of “hanger” form a kind of “beard” from chin up to stomach. It is especially well advanced at males and helps to estimate force and physical condition of the male in courtship season. On long tail there is a switch of black hair.
At great goatlope both females and males are horned. Horns of these animals are short and have wide bases almost adjoining on forehead. Horns are lyre-shaped, and the annual gain adds new relief ring in their basis. During courtship duels males fall on knees of forward legs and combat, striking impacts by head and neck. Rut at great goatlope takes place at the beginning of dry season.
Great goatlope eats lower parts of grasses and undersized plants, therefore it prefers to graze near to other species which eat top parts of plants. This species does not compete to bikifaru, the representative of horned pigs, because it occupies various habitats, preferring dry ones: savannas overgrown with grass and flat hillsides with small amount of bush.
Once a year, in the beginning of rainseason, the female gives rise to one large, well advanced calf. One hour after birth it already can walk, and at the second day of life it runs on a level with adult animals. Sexual maturity at these animals comes at the age of 3 years.
Image details
Image size
1000x434px 387.15 KB
Shutter Speed
1/60 second
Focal Length
6 mm
Date Taken
Jan 15, 2011, 1:26:17 PM
Sensor Size
© 2011 - 2021 AlexSone
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Leggurm's avatar
Goats are survivors.
Amplion's avatar
Очень хороший рисунок!
AlexSone's avatar