The biological subfamily Bovinae includes a diverse group of 10 genera of medium to large-sized ungulates, including domestic cattle, bison, African buffalo, the water buffalo, the yak, and the four-horned and spiral-horned antelopes. The evolutionary relationship between the members of the group is still debated, and their classification into loose tribes rather than formal subgroups reflects this uncertainty. General characteristics include cloven hoofs and usually at least one of the sexes of a species having true horns. The largest extant bovine is the gaur.
In most countries, bovids are used for food. Cattle are eaten almost everywhere except in parts of India and Nepal where they are considered sacred by most Hindus.
Systematics and classification
- FAMILY BOVIDAE
- Subfamily Bovinae
- Tribe Boselaphini
- Tribe Bovini
- Genus Bubalus
- Genus Bos
- Aurochs, Bos primigenius
- Eurasian Aurochs†, Bos primigenius primigenius (extinct)
- Indian Aurochs†, Bos primigenius namadicus (extinct)
- North African Aurochs†, Bos primigenius africanus (extinct)
- Banteng, Bos javanicus
- Gaur, Bos gaurus
- Gayal, Bos frontalis (domestic gaur)
- Yak, Bos grunniens
- Wild yak, Bos mutus
- Bos palaesondaicus†, (extinct)
- Kouprey, Bos sauveli
- Domestic cattle, Bos taurus
- Genus Pseudoryx
- Saola, Pseudoryx nghetinhensis
- Genus Syncerus
- Genus Bison
- Genus Pelorovis† (extinct)
- Giant buffalo†, Pelorovis antiquus (extinct)
- Tribe Tragelaphini
Bovine is derived from Latin bos, "ox", through Late Latin bovinus. Bos comes from the Indo-European root *gwous, meaning ox.
- International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature (2003) Opinion 2027 (Case 3010). Usage of 17 specific names based on wild species which are pre-dated by or contemporary with those based on domestic animals (Lepidoptera, Osteichthyes, Mammalia): conserved. Bull. Zool. Nomencl., 60:81–84.
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