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Class Mammalia
Order Artiodactyla
Suborder Ruminantia
Family Bovidae


Bison—Bison // Bootherium bombifrons—Woodland Musk Ox // Euceratherium—Shrub Oxen // Ovis canadensis—Bighorn Sheep // Oreamnos harringtoni—Harrington's Mountain Goat // Pumilovis richwhitei—White's Diminutive Sheep

Bovidae—Advanced Ruminants, Including Bison, Muskoxen, Sheep, and Mountain Goats

The bovids are the most successful of the Artiodactyla in terms of worldwide numbers of species and individuals. They are primarily an Old World family that has managed to invade North America; however, the cold-climate filter required to do so during the Pleistocene has limited their spread in the New World, and none has managed to make it into South America. Many of the present representatives in North America are relatively late immigrants.

Characteristics include unbranched, non-deciduous horns that are present in both sexes, though usually with the horns being smaller in the females. The stomach is highly complex, with advanced treatment of the food (including regurgitation and reprocessing in the oral cavity: chewing the cud) before it finally enters the small intestine.

As in all ruminants, the central metapodials (III and IV) are fused into a cannonbone. Many taxa are cursorial and several are adapted to rough terrain.


Last Update: 6 May 2014