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A gazelle is any of many antelope species in the genus Gazella or formerly considered to belong to it Six species are included in two genera, Eudorcas and Nanger, which were formerly considered subgenera The genus Procapra has also been considered a subgenus of Gazella, and its members are also referred to as gazelles, though they are not dealt with in this article Gazelles are known as swift animals Some are able to run at bursts as high as 100 km/h 60 mph or run at a sustained speed of 50 km/h 30 mph1 Gazelles are found mostly in the deserts, grasslands, and savannas of Africa; but they are also found in southwest and central Asia and the Indian subcontinent They tend to live in herds, and eat less coarse, easily digestible plants and leaves

Gazelles are rather small antelopes, most standing 60–110 cm 2–35 ft high at the shoulder, and are generally fawn-colored

The gazelle genera are Gazella, Eudorcas, and Nanger The taxonomy of these genera is a confused one, and the classification of species and subspecies has been an unsettled issue Currently, the genus Gazella is widely considered to contain about 10 species2 Four further species are extinct: the red gazelle, the Arabian gazelle, the Queen of Sheba's gazelle, and the Saudi gazelle Most surviving gazelle species are considered threatened to varying degrees Closely related to the true gazelles are the Tibetan and Mongolian gazelles species of the genus Procapra, the blackbuck of Asia, and the African springbok

One widely familiar gazelle is the African species Thomson's gazelle Eudorcas thomsoni, which is around 60 to 80 cm 24 to 31 in in height at the shoulder and is coloured brown and white with a distinguishing black stripe The males have long, often curved, horns Like many other prey species, Tommies and springboks as they are familiarly called exhibit a distinctive behaviour of stotting running and jumping high before fleeing when they are threatened by predators, such as cheetahs


  • 1 Etymology and name
  • 2 Poetry
  • 3 Species
    • 31 Prehistoric extinctions
  • 4 Gallery
  • 5 References
  • 6 External links

Etymology and nameedit

Byzantine-era mosaic of gazelle in Caesarea, Israel

Gazelle is derived from the Arabic name غزال ġazāl3 The first Romance language to adopt it was Middle French, and the word entered the English language around 1600 from French4 The Arab people traditionally hunted the gazelle Appreciated for its grace, it is a symbol most commonly associated in Arabic literature with female beauty5


One of the traditional themes of Persian love poetry involves comparing the gazelle with the beloved, and linguists theorize ghazal, the word for love poetry in Persian, is related to the word for gazelle6 It is related that the Caliph Abd al-Malik 646–705 freed a gazelle that he had captured because of her resemblance to his beloved:

O likeness of Layla, never fear!
For I am your friend, today, O wild deer!
Then I say, after freeing her from her fetters:
You are free for the sake of Layla, for ever!6

The theme is found in the ancient Hebrew Song of Songs 8:14

Come away, my beloved,
and be like a gazelle
or like a young stag
on the spice-laden mountains


For gazelle species by population, see List of even-toed ungulates by population

The gazelles are divided into three genera and numerous species7

Genus Common and binomial names Image Range
Gazella Arabian gazelle
G arabica
Arabian Peninsula
Cuvier's gazelle
G cuvieri
Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia
Dorcas gazelle
G dorcas
North and saharan Africa, Sinai and Israel
Goitered gazelle
G subgutturosa
Northern Azerbaijan, eastern Georgia, part of Iran, parts of Iraq and southwestern Pakistan, southeastern Turkey, Afghanistan and the Gobi Desert
Chinkara or
Indian gazelle
G bennettii
Iran, Pakistan and India
Mountain gazelle
G gazella
Israel, the Golan Heights, and Turkey
Rhim gazelle
G leptoceros
Algeria, Chad, Egypt, Libya and Sudan
Speke's gazelle
G spekei
Horn of Africa
Neumann's gazelle
G erlangeri
Arabian Peninsula
†Saudi gazelle
G saudiya89
Arabian Peninsula
Eudorcas Mongalla gazelle
E albonotata
Floodplain and savanna of South Sudan
Red-fronted gazelle
E rufifrons
The Sahel region of central Africa
†Red gazelle
E rufina
Mountain areas of North Africa
Thomson's gazelle
E thomsoni
East Africa
Nanger Dama gazelle
N dama
Sahara desert and the Sahel
Grant's gazelle
N granti
Northern Tanzania to South Sudan and Ethiopia, and from the Kenyan coast to Lake Victoria
Soemmerring's gazelle
N soemmerringii
Horn of Africa

† = extinct

Prehistoric extinctionsedit

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

  • Genus Gazella
    • Gazella borbonica - European gazelle
    • Gazella thomasi - Thomas's gazelle
    • Gazella harmonae - Pliocene of Ethiopia, unusual spiral horns10
    • Gazella praethomsoni
    • Gazella negevensis
    • Gazella triquetrucornis
    • Gazella negevensis
    • Gazella capricornis
  • 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



  1. ^ "Gazelle" The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed 2007, Columbia University Press
  2. ^ Eva Verena Bärmann; et al 2013, "The curious case of Gazella arabica", Mammalian Biology - Zeitschrift für Säugetierkunde, 78 3: 220–225  CS1 maint: Explicit use of et al link
  3. ^ Walter, Henriette; Fawcett, Peter D 1994 Peter D Fawcett, ed French inside out: the worldwide development of the French language in the past, the present and the future Illustrated ed Routledge p 66 ISBN 9780415076692 
  4. ^ Merriam-Webster - Gazelle, Accessed: 22 December 2009
  5. ^ Behrens-billAbouseif, Doris 1999 Beauty in Arabic culture Illustrated ed Markus Wiener Publishers p 53 ISBN 9781558761995 
  6. ^ a b Necipoğlu, Gülru 1997 Gülru Necipoğlu, ed Muqarnas: An Annual on the Visual Culture of the Islamic World Illustrated ed BRILL ISBN 9789004108721 
  7. ^ "Antilopinae" Retrieved 2008-07-01 
  8. ^ Participants at 4th International Conservation Workshop for the Threatened Fauna of Arabi 2003 Gazella saudiya In: IUCN 2006 2006 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species <wwwiucnredlistorg> Downloaded on 7 October 2006
  9. ^ IUCN SSC Antelope Specialist Group 2008 Gazella saudiya In: IUCN 2008 2008 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species <wwwiucnredlistorg> Downloaded on 18 December 2008
  10. ^ Geraads, D; et al 2012 "Pliocene Bovidae Mammalia from the Hadar Formation of Hadar and Ledi-Geraru, Lower Awash, Ethiopia" Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 32 1: 180–197 doi:101080/027246342012632046 

External linksedit

  • Quotations related to Gazelles at Wikiquote

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