damalisk [key], name for African antelopes of the genus Damaliscus, closely related to the hartebeest. Damalisks are slenderly built and rather horselike in form; they are common grazing animals of the African grasslands. They vary in color from deep reddish brown to tan; many have black markings on the face and body. The horns sweep back, up, and inward, in the form of a lyre. Different common names are applied to the different species and races. The tsessebe or sassaby, D. lunatus, is a large damalisk, standing nearly 4 ft (120 cm) at the shoulder; it is found in N South Africa. The tiang is a D. lunatus subspecies found in central and E Africa. The three subspecies of D. korrigum, considered by some authorities to be subspecies of D. lunatus, are known as the korrigum, topi, and coastal topi, and are respectively found in W Africa, central and E Africa, and E Africa. Blesbok and bontebok are names for the two subspecies of the small S African damalisk, D. pygargus; both stand under 31⁄2 ft (105 cm) tall and are deep red with white patches on the face and rump. Both the blesbok and the bontebok are extinct in the wild but are preserved on farms and in parks. The hirola, Beatragus hunteri, was formerly considered a damalisk species, D. hunteri, and is also known as Hunter's hartebeest. It has a long, narrow face resembling that of the true hartebeest. The hirola is now restricted to a small area of Kenya and Somalia, and is endangered. Damalisks are classified in the phylum Chordata, subphylum Vertebrata, class Mammalia, order Artiodactyla, family Bovidae.
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