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markhor

markhor (märˈkôr) [key], wild goat, Capra falconeri, found in the rugged mountains of central Asia, from S Russia to the W Himalayas. Largest of the goats, the male may stand over 40 in. (100 cm) at the shoulder and weigh over 200 lb (90 kg). The coat is short and reddish brown in summer; in winter it is long, silky, and gray. Males have long, thick beards. The distinctive corkscrew-shaped horns are extremely thick and heavy. Markhors live in small herds of between 4 and 30 individuals, grazing up to the snow line. The isolated populations of the different mountain ranges constitute distinct races; most are near extinction because of extensive hunting. In Russia and the Central Asian Republics, where the markhor has been protected since the 1930s, its numbers have increased to about 1,000. The markhor 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.

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