Last week I gave you this skull from the Dead Zoo to have a go at identifying:
Obviously the horns let us know that it’s some kind of bovid, but as has been noted before, there are a LOT of bovids. Overall horn configuration is a useful indicator of which general part of the bovid family tree to consider and I always find myself needing to check references to make sure I remember the general configurations.
A very helpful overview of horn morphology for the main subfamilies within the Bovide is illustrated by M. Van Bolt in a paper by Barbara Lundrigan from 1996*
Capturing the horn angle accurately in a photograph can be quite tricky, which is why I provided more than one angle:
A quick check shows that the horn shape of this specimen is distinctively Reedbuck. There are three species in the Genus Redunca, with fairly clear differences in things like the proportions of the maxilla and the shape of the orbit, but again the horns offer a clue.
Mountain Reedbucks have short horns, only in the region of about 15cm, a bit on the short side for this specimen, where they look to be around 25cm or so. The Southern Reedbuck has much longer horns in the range of 35-45cm, a bit bigger than this specimen. That leaves one Goldilocks species with horns 25-35cm long – the Bohor Reedbuck Redunca redunca (Pallas, 1767).
So well done to everyone who recognised this as a Reedbuck and special props to Goatlips who suggested Bohor Reedbuck. Hopefully the illustrated phylogeny I shared will help with future identifications.
great key for solving great puzzles!
How much convergent evolution, I wonder?
The difficulty with this FMO was the lack of skull photos online. The dibatag (Ammodorcas clarkei), in the Antilopinae subfamily has horns with a continuous forward curve, but I couldn’t find a single skull photo online, just a drawing, and there’s not that many for all three reedbuck (Reduncinae subfamily) species either – they’re usually the mountain reedbuck (Redunca fulvorufula).
Reduncas, in Latin, refers to the curve of the horns in some way (Wiki says reduncas means “bent backwards and curved”).