literature

The Fring of Zoology 011: Kting Voar

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Kting Voar
Other Names: Spiral-Horned Ox, Snake-Eating Cow
Binomial Name: Pseudonovibos spiralis
Taxonomic Family: Bovidae
Range: Cambodia, Vietnam
Diet: Low plant growth
Status: Critically Endangered

The kting voar, also called the spiral-horned ox, is an extremely rare and large species of bovine known for their (unnaturally) spiraled horns and mythical connection to snakes that live in the jungles of Cambodia and Vietnam.

Evolution and Taxonomy:
The scientific name of the kting voar is Pseudonovibos spiralis, to which it is the sole member of its genus. It was described in 1994 and lies within the family Bovidae and subfamily Bovinae, but are most closely related to the saola and are thus put into the small new tribe Pseudorygini based on 2003 DNA studies. Pseudorygini is an ancestral or less derived group of Bovines and only contains the saola and kting voar for now.
Before the discovery of live individuals in 2002, the kting voar was suggested to be assigned to a multitude of subfamilies within Bovidae since its recognition as a distinct species in 1994, and previously some specimens were thought to be of a kouprey. In between 1994 and 2002, doubt was placed on the authenticity of the species as being distinct from domestic cattle, not helped by reports claiming the kting voar was spotted (which was previously unknown in wild cattle).
Kting voar seem to have convergently evolved similar features to cattle within the genus Bos, and are not closely related to them. Their exact evolutionary past is unknown as there has been no known fossil material from Pseudorygini and even recent specimens, alive or dead, are very scarce.

Biology:
The kting voar appear similar in features to most cattle in body proportions, but vaguely different upon examination such as an elongated neck and legs and stubby tail. Males stand 1.2 meters at the shoulders, while females stand just under 1 meter. Their fur is a brownish-black in color with white spots along its rear and sides, along with white "stockings" from the feet to the knees and more white markings around the face. Their horns are ringed and reach lengths of 50 centimeters in males and 45 in females. The tips do not naturally spiral, this is instead achieved by heat-warping them after death and can also be done to local domestic cattle horns, but this lacks the cultural significance desired. They have an unusually long tongue that can reach much of their face, a trait shared with the saola.

Behavior:
Due to a limited and fragmented population, much of the behavior of the spiral-horned oxen is speculative or unsure. They seem to live in small herds in jungle regions. Their supposed connection to snakes (which differs by region) seem to simply be legend, although they may stamp to death snakes they feel are a threat which could have given rise to the legends. Adults could probably be prey for tigers, and young could be hunted by leopards and smaller carnivores such as dholes. They eat low growth plants and can eat a variety of species.
They are general docile around humans unless threatened which has probably led to their easy hunting unfortunately. Their health can easily becomes unstable in captivity so this is generally avoid.

History:
For uncertain reasons the kting voar has always been somewhat associated with snakes by natives in its range, usually in the form of repelling and/or eating them. One of the first reports of the kting voar by Westerners was of farther and son hunters who killed two as tiger bait in 1929. They kept their frontlets as trophies and were donated to the Kansas Natural History Museum, where they were eventually incorrectly identified as coming from kouprey. It wasn't until 2001 that these specimens were assigned to Pseudonovibos, based on their resemblance to the holotype specimen. No other physical evidence or convincing reports are known for almost 70 years. In 1994, a set of horns were found in a Ho Chi Minh City market and were bought because they were thought to represent a new species. This specimen became the holotype for the species. While some accepted the kting voar as a new and possibly recently extinct species of Wild bovine, others were more skeptical to its existence. In early 2002 it was found that all known horns of kting voar were heat-warped to become spiraled, further confusing the kting voar's status. But later that same year a small herd of kting voar were discovered by a survey team in the newly established Vũ Quang National Park, the same area that the saola were found. They were documented extensively, as they seemed to be unique, but we're only later found to match the description kting voar. This discovery finally provided the first known live example of kting voar in 70 years, and DNA sequencing in 2003 finally settled the kting voar's status. In 2004 a male and female pair were captured and brought to a zoo, although the male died after 3 weeks for unknown reasons while the female has continued to survive to the present day, providing needed information on this incredibly rare and endangered species. Current conservation efforts are continually underway to help save the kting voar, but others are more doubtful. It is currently listed as critically endangered by IUCN.
Although the Bili ape might have been at one time the closest cryptid I've ever done so far to being a truly new species, the kting voar defiantly takes the cake right now. Although only some horn frontlets are currently known sand reports, it could end up being a new species, albeit possibly extinct. If it does end up being a new species, I'm not sure what I'll do with this. Until then, this is what it is.
I put in the currently hypothetical tribe Pseudorygini with the saola because of the antelope-like features of the horns, something shared with the saola and found in the same region. Plus it makes it more unique compared to an average bovine, and helps the spots its described to have as saolas basically have them already.

The next animal is one of my favorite creations, but I'm going to go back and update and revise all the other entries so far, as I've said 3 times now. Things that will happen:
-Add things that need adding
-Changing things that need changing
-More details and explanations
-Formatted similar to the average Wikipedia page so everything has a place and stays consistent
It's basically for quality control. It will go in order of number. Cheers.
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