Phylogeny

The Giant eland belongs to Family Bovidae. This Family is characterized by non-complete fossils findings from the age of development of great part of subfamilies. This with connection of considerable morphological interspecies diversity had lead to disunity in taxonomic inclusion, especially on the level of subfamilies and tribes (Matthee and Robinson 1999).

The Bovidae are characterized by a basal division which separates the Bovinae (cow, nilgai, kudu clade) from the remaining bovid taxa (Mathee and Davis 2001). Matthee and Robinson (1999) have dealt with taxonomic structure in subfamily Alcelaphinae, Antilopinae, Tragelaphinae and Neotraginae on the basis of cytochrome-b analysis.

Fossils suggest for African branch of Tragelaphines for at least 15 millions years. It seems possible that all African Tragelaphines derive from a single immigrant ancestral type which subsequently branched into a larger and smaller lineage. The elands have almost certainly evolved from a giant form of kudu that was abundant about 1.3 million years ago (Kingdon 2001).

Phylogenetic relationship among the nine spiral-horn antelope species of the African bovid tribe Tragelaphini is controversial. In particular, mitochondrial DNA sequencing studies are not congruent with previous morphological investigations (Willows-Munro, Robinson, Mathee 2005).

                              

                  

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