February 21, 2013

Are mountain goats really goats?

The other day I saw a magazine in a gas station with a picture of a mountain goat on the front cover. I naturally wanted to know what they had to say about them, so I decided to take a peek. Just as I opened the magazine to the appropriate page, my mom called me to the car. Still, as I was closing the magazine, one sentence caught my eye: Mountain goats aren't really goats; they're a type of Antelope.

Now, that came as something of a surprise. It never had occurred to me that a mountain goat might be an antelope, not a goat! So I looked it up. Here's the information that I gathered:

Mountain goats are close relatives to goats, but they are more properly known as goat-antelopes (click here for a description of a goat-antelope.) The mountain goat belongs to the subfamily Caprinae along with 32 other species including goats, sheep, the chamois, and the musk ox. The mountain goat is not a member of Capra, the genus that includes the wild goat from which the domestic goat is derived, but he is the only species in the genus Oreamnos.


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