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Letters to Nature
Nature 363, 443 - 445 (03 June 1993); doi:10.1038/363443a0

A new species of living bovid from Vietnam

Vu Van Dung, Pham Mong Giao, Nguyen Ngoc Chinh, Do Tuoc, Peter Arctander & John MacKinnon*

Forest Inventory and Planning Institute, Ministry of Forestry, Hanoi, Vietnam
*Asian Bureau for Conservation, 18/E Capital Building, 175–191 Lockhart Road, Wanchai, Hong Kong
To whom correspondence should be addressed.

IN May 1992 a joint survey by the Ministry of Forestry and World Wide Fund for Nature of the Vu Quang Nature Reserve, Ha tinh province, found three sets of long straight horns of a new bovid (Mammalia, Artiodactyla) in hunters' houses1. None of the specimens had dentition. On four follow-up visits by Vietnamese scientists new specimens were discovered and surveys of forests in neighbouring Nghe an province revealed more localities and some partial specimens. In all, we have examined more than 20 specimens. Three have complete upper skulls and dentitions, two have lower jaws and dentitions. Three complete skins have been collected. The specimens are distinct in appearance, morphology and DNA sequence and cannot be ascribed to any known genus. Only two bovid genera are known from this part of Asia, Bos and Naemorhedus = Capricornis 2,3. A new genus and species are therefore described. Such a discovery is of great significance. It has been more than 50 years since any comparable find of a large mammal species has been made; the last being the kouprey Bos= Novibos sauveli, another Indochinese bovid (Urbain, 1937). Moreover, the bovids (cattle, goats and antelopes) are a mammal family of great value to mankind. Many species have proven or potential value for domestication or cross-breeding. A three-month field study is planned to observe the living animal.



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