Taxonomy And Classification

Two suborders of the Artiodactyla are the Ruminantia, which include the true ruminants, about 155 species; and the Tylopoda, four species, which include camels and camelids (Table 1). There are four families within the Ruminantia of which the Bovidae are the most numerous. The Bovidae include cattle, sheep, goats, buffaloes, bison, and the diverse African antelope (Table 2).[1-3] Not closely related to the African antelope is the pronghorn antelope of North America. The North American pronghorn antelope is treated as a separate subfamily, Antilocapridae, but may belong in the Bovidae.[3]

The Cervidae including deer, elk, moose, caribou, and reindeer are the next largest family and exist in most parts of the world except subsaharan Africa, where antelopes dominate. The Giraffidae have only two species, the giraffe and the okapi. The Tragulidae are small animals, including chevrotains and mouse deer, and may be evolutionarily the most primitive.

The tylopods comprise the camels and camelids. The camels include the one-humped dromedary and the two-humped Bactrian camel. The camelids are Andean and include alpacas, llamas, vicuna, and guanacos. Alpacas and llamas are domesticated, whereas vicuna and guanacos are mostly wild.

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