Antelope, common name for many cloven-hoofed mammals belonging to the family of bovids (Bovidae), but it differs from other representatives of more graceful physique and horns directed mainly upwards and backwards, rather than to the sides. Antelope horns are somewhat similar to the goat, which, in particular, is reflected in many scientific names of animals, often made from the Greek. tragos – goat. The term “antelope” (from the Greek. Antholops – horned animal) has no taxonomic significance and applies to more than 100 species differ markedly and subspecies (geographic races) bovids.
Antelope were widely distributed in Europe, Asia and Africa since the early Pliocene (about 5 million. Years ago) until the end of the Pleistocene (10,000 years ago). Currently, they can be found only in Africa and South Asia, and in Africa more diversity. In North America, these antelopes no: dwells there like them externally pronghorn (Antilocapra americana) belongs to a different family (Antilocapridae).
The smallest size of a rabbit, dwarf antelope (Neotragus pygmaeus) resides in West Africa. At the same time it is the finest of all hoofed mammals: body length 50-60 cm, tail – 7.5 cm, height at the withers is only 30 cm and a weight of 3-5 kg. The largest antelope – Eland (Taurotragus oryx) – like a bull, as reflected in its Latin name, which translates as “kozlobyk.” In a large male body can reach a length of 3.4 m, and the tail – 90 cm, height at the withers 1,8 m, weight 900 kg. Giant eland (T. derbianus), despite the name, are somewhat smaller.
Separation bovids into smaller groups and distribution of species it is not definitively settled. In the mid-20th century. Some authors distinguish this family of 5 subfamilies, many now bring their number to 10. This article describes the 9 of them are overlooked only subfamily Caprinae (sheep, goats and related forms, such as musk ox).