quagga kwăg´ə [key], extinct type of zebra . It formerly inhabited open plains in S Africa, where its range overlapped that of the common zebra ( Equus burchelli ). Its coat was sandy brown and its legs and tail whitish only its head, neck, and shoulders were dark-striped. Living in herds and competing with domestic sheep for grass, quaggas were exterminated in the 19th cent. the last died in 1883 in the Amsterdam Zoo. Recent analyses of DNA (genetic material) from a museum specimen indicate that the quagga is almost certainly a variant of the common zebra rather than a separate species ( E. quagga ) as was once believed. Quaggas are classified in the phylum Chordata , subphylum Vertebrata, class Mammalia, order Perissodactyla, family Equidae.

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