2008/9 Schools Wikipedia Selection. Related subjects: Mammals

Thomson's Gazelle
Thomson's Gazelle
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Artiodactyla
Family: Bovidae
Subfamily: Antilopinae
Genus: Gazella
Blainville, 1816

Several, see text

A gazelle ( Arabic: غزال transliteration: ġazaal) is an antelope currently or formerly in the genus Gazella, although the three members of the genus Procapra are also widely are referred to as gazelles. Two additional genera, Eudorcas and Nanger now include six species of gazelle that used to be considered members of the genus Gazella, when Eudorcas and Nanger were considered subgenera.

Gazelles are known as swift animals; they are able to reach high speeds (as high as 50 mph) for long periods of time. Gazelles are mostly found in the grasslands and savannas of Africa, but they are also found in southwest Asia. They tend to live in herds and will eat less coarse, easily digestible plants and leaves.

The gazelle species are classified as part of the order Artiodactyla, family Bovidae and genera Gazella, Eudorcas and Nager. Members of the Artiodactyla order are principally distinguished by the foot; they have an even number of toes (the bovid family comprises 6 genera and 12 species). The taxonomy of these genera is a confused one, and the classification of species and subspecies has been an unsettled issue. Three species—the Red Gazelle, the Arabian Gazelle, and the Queen of Sheba's Gazelle—are extinct. All other gazelle species are listed as endangered, to varying degrees.

A recognizable example of the gazelle is Thomson's Gazelle (Eudorcas thomsonii), which is around 60 to 90 cm (23 to 35 inches) in height at the shoulder and is coloured brown and white with a distinguishing black stripe (as in the picture on the right). The males have long, often curved, horns. Tommies, as they are familiarly called, exhibit a distinctive behaviour of stotting (running slowly and jumping high before fleeing) when they are threatened by predators such as lions or cheetahs. This is a primary piece of evidence for the handicap principle advanced by Amotz Zahavi in the study of animal communication and behaviour.


  • Genus Gazella
    • Subgenus Gazella
      • Mountain Gazelle, G. gazella
      • Neumann's Gazelle, G. erlangeri
      • Speke's Gazelle, G. spekei
      • Dorcas Gazelle, also known as Ariel Gazelle, G. dorcas
      • Saudi Gazelle, G. saudiya
      • Chinkara, also known as Indian Gazelle, G. bennettii
    • Subgenus Trachelocele
      • Cuvier's Gazelle, G. cuvieri
      • Rhim Gazelle, G. leptoceros
      • Goitered Gazelle, G. subgutturosa
  • Genus Eudorcas
    • Thomson's Gazelle, E. thomsonii
    • Red-fronted Gazelle, E. rufifrons
  • Genus Nanger
    • Dama Gazelle, N. dama
    • Grant's Gazelle, N. granti
    • Soemmerring's Gazelle, N. soemmerringii


Fossils of genus Gazella are found in Pliocene and Pleistocene deposits of Eurasia and Africa. The tiny Gazella borbonica is one of the earliest European gazelles, characterized by its small size and short legs. Gazelles disappeared from Europe at the start of Ice Age, but they survived in Africa and Middle East. Three species become extinct in recent times due to human causes.

Recent extinctions

  • Genus Gazella
    • Subgenus Gazella
      • Arabian Gazelle, G. arabica
      • Queen of Sheba's Gazelle, G. bilkis
  • Genus Eudorcas
    • Red Gazelle, E. rufina

Prehistoric extinctions

  • Genus Gazella
    • Gazella borbonica - European Gazelle
    • Gazella thomasi' - Thomas's Gazelle
    • Gazella praethomsoni
    • Gazella negevensis
    • Gazella triquetrucornis
    • Gazella negevensis
    • Gazella capricornis
    • Gazella mytilinii
  • Subgenus Vetagazella
    • Gazella sinensis
    • Gazella deperdita
    • Gazella pilgrimi- Steppe Gazelle
    • Gazella leile - Leile's Gazelle
    • Gazella praegaudryi - Japanese Gazelle
    • Gazella gaudryi
    • Gazella paotehensis
    • Gazella dorcadoides
    • Gazella altidens
    • Gazella mongolica - Mongolian Gazelle
    • Gazella lydekkeri - Ice Age Gazelle
    • Gazella blacki
    • Gazella parasinensis
    • Gazella kueitensis
    • Gazella paragutturosa
  • Subgenus Gazella
    • Gazella janenschi
  • Subgenus Trachelocele
    • Gazella atlantica
    • Gazella tingitana
  • Subgenus Deprezia
    • Gazella psolea
  • Genus Nanger
    • Nanger vanhoepeni
Retrieved from ""
This Wikipedia Selection is sponsored by SOS Children , and consists of a hand selection from the English Wikipedia articles with only minor deletions (see for details of authors and sources). The articles are available under the GNU Free Documentation License. See also our Disclaimer.