Antelope is called several specific mammals. They look similar but are not closely related biologically. The males carry curved or ringed horns, mostly the females too. But they are not sheep, goats or cattle. They live in the wild, so they are not pets. They live in herds and are vegetarian. One speaks of antelopes especially with animals in Africa and Asia.
In biology, antelopes belong to the order of even-toed ungulates, such as deer or camels. There are many different species of antelope, which are grouped into several genera. They live in different areas, but mostly in the savannah. People like to hunt antelopes because they provide a lot of meat. Certain species are therefore endangered. The giant eland is even threatened with extinction.
We have only been talking about antelopes since modern times, i.e. for about 500 years. In the Middle Ages, what is now called an antelope was still considered a mythical animal. It lived on the banks of the Euphrates River in Mesopotamia, which is what is now Iraq. This antelope was so swift that no hunter could kill it. She could even cut down trees with her sharp horns. That is why this antelope from the sagas appears in many coats of arms.
Which animals belong to the antelopes?
The giant eland is the largest and heaviest antelope. It is almost three meters long from head to rump and up to 180 centimeters high at the shoulders, i.e. as high as a man. On the scales, it reaches up to 900 kilograms. There are only about a thousand of this species left, spread over two national parks in the Central African Republic and in Guinea.
The wildebeests also grow very large. They form a genus, of which there are different species, for example the blue wildebeest, the white-tailed wildebeest and many others. The males are up to two meters long from head to bottom and over one and a half meters high at the shoulders. They can weigh up to 250 kilograms. They live mainly in the southern areas of Africa.
Kudus are also a multispecies genus. They grow almost the same size as the wildebeest, but even heavier. They live in large areas south of the Sahara and are very numerous.
There are also many species of impala. They are most comparable in size to our deer, and their color is also very similar. They are about 90 centimeters high at the shoulders and weigh forty to sixty kilograms. They live in many countries in East Africa, from Kenya to the Republic of South Africa. The name Impala comes from the Zulu language, i.e. from the country South Africa. The first a is stressed in Impala.
The dik-dik is one of the smallest antelopes in Africa. They are only slightly larger than a rabbit. They measure no more than seventy centimeters from head to bottom, no more than forty centimeters at the shoulders, and weigh no more than seven kilograms. They live in several countries on the east coast of Africa.
There are many more genera and species of animals that count as antelopes. This is mainly due to the fact that their genes are very different. The animals are not all related to each other, even if they have the same collective name.