Nilgiritragus hylocrius 

Nilgiri Tahr Mother and Kid


Formerly   Hemitragus hylocrius [Ogilby, 1838].

Taxonomic Note:  Ropiquet and Hassanin (2005)  removed the species from the genus Hemitragus, and placed it in the monotypic genus Nilgiritragus, based on analyses of four molecular markers. No subspecies are recognized


Citation: Proceedings of the general meetings for scientific business of the Zoological Society of London.1837 V: 81

Type locality: India, Nilgiri Hills. 

An extract from the proceedings of the general meetings for scientific business of the Zoological Society of London.1837 V: 81

" Mr Ogily exhibited two specimens of his new genus kemas, and directed the attention of the society to their generic and specific characters. Mr Ogily observed that the genus in question occupied an intermediate station between the goats and oryges, agreeing with the former in its mountain habitat and general confirmation, and with the latter in the presence of a small naked muzzle and four teats in the females. Of the two species exhibited, one was a fine male specimen of Iharal and the other a new specimen from Neilgherry hills, known to Madras and Bomaby sportsmen by the name of the Jungle Sheep, and which Mr Ogily had long looked for. In form and habit of the body, as well as the character of the horns this animal is intermediate to Iharal and Goral;the specific name of Kemas hylocrius was proposed for it in allusion to its local appellation. The body is covered with uniform short hair obscurely annulated like that of most species of deer and more resembling the coat of Ghoral than that of Iharal or chamois, the other species of which the genus is at present composed. The horns are uniformly bent back, surrounded by numerous small rings, and rather flattened on the sides, with a small longitudinal ridge on the inner anterior edge: the ears are of moderate length, and the tail very short. Mr Ogilby entered at some length in to the characters and relations of the genus Kemas; he observed that naturalists and commentators had greatly puzzled themselves to discover the derivation of the word Kemas, and the animal to which the ancient Greeks applied the name. Among other Col: H. Smith applies it to chira, with which ancients certainly were not acquainted: but Mr Ogily observed, that the root, both of the Greek kemas and the modern Chamois, was manifestly traceable to the German word Gems, which is still the name of the Chamois eastward of Rhine, and which the Dutch colonists have transferred to the Cape Oryx (Oryx capensis)"

Kingdom: Animalia Linnaeus, 1758 - animals

Subkingdom: Bilateria (Hatschek, 1888) Cavalier-Smith, 1983 - bilaterians, triploblastic animals

Branch: Deuterostomia Grobben, 1908 - deuterostomes

Infrakingdom: Chordonia (Haeckel, 1874) Cavalier-Smith, 1998

Phylum: Chordata Bateson, 1885 - chordates

Infraphylum: Gnathostomata auct. - jawed vertebrates

Superclass: Tetrapoda Goodrich, 1930 - tetrapods

Class: Mammalia Linnaeus, 1758 - mammals

Subclass: Theriiformes (Rowe, 1988:245) McKenna & Bell, 1997:vii,36

Infraclass: Holotheria (Wible et al., 1995) McKenna & Bell, 1997:vii,

Superorder: Preptotheria (McKenna, 1975:41) McKenna in Stucky & McKenna

Order: Ungulata (un-goo-LAH-tuh) (Linnaeus, 1766) McKenna, 1975:41

Suborder: Ruminantia Scopoli, 1777:493-496

Superfamily: Bovoidea (Gray, 1821:308) Simpson, 1931:264, 284

Family: Bovidae

Subfamily: Caprinae

Tribe: Caprini

Genus: Nilgiritragus ( Ropiquet & Hassanin, 2005)

Species: hylocrius (Ogilby, 1838)

Scientific Name: Nilgiritragus  hylocrius (Ropiquet & Hassanin, 2005)

It was after Ropiquet and Hassanin(2005) carried out phylogenetic analyses and proposed a new taxonomy that the genus name was changed to Nilgiritragus from hemitragus. The analyses were carried out on a matrix including most extant species currently described in the tribe Caprini sensu lato, and 3165 nucleotide characters, coming from four different markers, i.e., an intron of the nuclear gene coding for the protein kinase C iota, and three mitochondrial genes (subunit II of the cytochrome c oxidase, cytochrome b, and 12S rRNA). The results show that the genus Hemitragus is polyphyletic, as H. jemlahicus is associated with Capra (goats), H. hylocrius is the sister-group of Ovis (sheep), and H. jayakari is allied with Ammotragus lervia (aoudad). In the light of these unexpected results, Ropiquet and Hassanin revaluated the validity of the morphological characters originally used for defining the genus Hemitragus. They have  proposed a new taxonomy, where the three species of tahr are ranged into three monospecific genera: the genus Hemitragus is restricted to the Himalayan tahr, and two new genera are created: Arabitragus for the Arabian tahr and Nilgiritragus for the Nilgiri tahr.

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