Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
- This article deals with the African herbivorous mammal. For other uses, see Antelope (disambiguation)
The antelope are a group of herbivorous African animals of the family Bovidae, distinguished by a pair of hollow horns on their heads. These animals are spread relatively evenly throughout the various subfamilies of Bovidae and many are more closely related to cows or goats than each other. There are many different species of antelope, ranging in size from tiny to very big. Antelope have powerful hindquarters and when startled they run with a peculiar bounding stride that makes them look as though they are bouncing over the terrain like a giant rabbit. Some species of antelope can reach speeds of 60 miles per hour (100 kilometers per hour), making them among the fastest of land animals.
There are about 90 species of antelope in about 30 genera of which about 15 are endangered. These include:
Black Buck Antelope have been imported into the United States, primarily for the purpose of "exotic game hunts", common in Texas. There are no true antelope native to the Americas. The Pronghorn Antelope of the Great Plains belongs to family Antilocapridae. The Mongolian Gazelle (Procapra gutturosa), sometimes classified as an antelope, can run with a speed of 80 km/h (50 mph).
The antelope's horn is prized for medicinal and magical powers in many places. In the Congo, it is thought to confine spirits. Christian iconography sometimes uses the antelope's two horns as a symbol of the two spiritual weapons that Christians possess: the Old Testament and New Testaments. Their ability to run swiftly has also led to their association with the wind, such as in the Rig Veda, as the steeds of the Maruts and the wind god Vaya.
- San Diego Zoo. Includes pictures.
- Eland. Includes pictures.
- African Wildlife Foundation's Hartebeest page. Include a dropdown menu of other antelope pages.
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