Wildebeest in Masai Mara during the Great Migration

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The wildebeests, also called gnus or wildebai, are a genus of antelopes, Connochaetes. They belong to the family Bovidae, which includes antelopes, cattle, goats, sheep and other even-toed horned ungulates. Connochaetes includes two species, both native to Africa: the black wildebeest, or white-tailed gnu (C. gnou); and the blue wildebeest, or brindled gnu (C. taurinus).

Fossil records suggest these two species diverged about one million years ago, resulting in a northern and a southern species. The blue wildebeest remained in its original range and changed very little from the ancestral species, while the black wildebeest changed more in order to adapt to its open grassland habitat in the south. The most obvious way of telling the two species apart are the differences in their colouring and in the way their horns are oriented.

Image: By Bjørn Christian Tørrissen – Own work by uploader, http://bjornfree.com/galleries.html, CC BY-SA 3.0
Text: Wikipedia contributors. “Wildebeest.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 26 Aug. 2016. Web. 6 Sep. 2016.

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