Bovids | Bovidae
Bovids are one of the largest existing families; there are currently more than 140 species alive and 300 extinct. Bovidae consist of cattle, antelopes, gazelles, goats, and sheep. The existence of the Bovidae family has been essential to human prosperity due to their widespread domestication and use as products, such as, milk, leather, meat and more. Usually both males and females of this family have horns, however, there is sexual dimorphism typically displayed with male Bovidae being larger than females. Members of the Bovidae family usually have multiple partners and will mate at least once, sometimes twice, a year.
In most species of bovid males, horns play an important role. Horns are used by males to engage in male-male competitions or to show-off and impress females. Bovid horns vary in shape and size – some are straight, curved or spiral. Horns are sharp and can be used as a defense mechanism against predators. Unfortunately, many bovids are hunted for their horns.
There are about 143 species in the Bovidae family. The bovids are the largest family of hoofed mammals. Antelopes, sheep, goats, cattle, buffalo, and bison are all part of the Bovidae family. Other species of bovids include impala, gazelles, and muskoxen. There are 300 known extinct species.
All bovids have 4 toes on each foot. They walk on the 2 central toes which are the hooves, and the 2 outer toes which are dewclaws are smaller and rarely touch the ground. Standing on their toes increases the bovids speed while running and jumping, and lets them hold their head higher to better look out for predators.