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gaur

gaur, large wild ox of Southeast Asia, having a humplike ridge on the back. The gaur, Bos gaurus, is thought to be the largest of the wild cattle; the bulls may measure more than 6 ft (1.8 m) at the shoulder and weigh more than a ton. The coat in both sexes is generally dark brown, but the lower legs are white. The strongly curved horns sweep backward and inward. The gaur is native to hilly, forested districts of India, Myanmar, and the Malay Peninsula. It roams about in hilly country in small herds during the day, descending to the lowlands for fresh grass in the morning and evening. Another closely related animal, the semidomesticated gayal of Myanmar, is slightly smaller than the gaur. Some authorities believe that it is merely a domesticated version of the same animal. A third related animal, the kouprey, was not discovered until 1936 in central Cambodia. Some biologists have proposed that the kouprey, which now is probably extinct in the wild, is not a separate species but a hybrid between a zebu and a banteng, another wild ox. See also cattle. The gaur is classified in the phylum Chordata, subphylum Vertebrata, class Mammalia, order Artiodactyla, family Bovidae.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

See more Encyclopedia articles on: Vertebrate Zoology


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