Capra (genus) facts for kids

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Capra
Female ibex
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Artiodactyla
Family: Bovidae
Subfamily: Caprinae
Genus: Capra
Linnaeus, 1758

Capra is a genus of mammals, the goats or wild goats, composed of up to nine species, including the wild goat, the markhor, and several species known as ibex. The domestic goat (Capra aegagrus hircus) is a domesticated subspecies of the wild goat (Capra aegagrus). Evidence of goat domestication dates back more than 8,500 years.

Wild goats are animals of mountain habitats. They are very agile and hardy, able to climb on bare rock and survive on sparse vegetation. They can be distinguished from the genus Ovis, which includes sheep, by the presence of scent glands close to the feet, in the groin, and in front of the eyes, and the absence of other facial glands, and by the presence of a beard in the males, and of hairless calluses on the knees of the forelegs.

The Rocky Mountain goat is in a separate genus, Oreamnos.

Domestication and uses

Goats as weed control
Goats used for natural weed control
Ibex in the French Vanoise National Park
Ibex securely climbing rocky slope

Along with sheep, goats were among the first domesticated animals. The domestication process started at least 10,000 years ago in what is now northern Iran. Easy human access to goat hair, meat, and milk were the primary motivations. Goat skins were popularly used until the Middle Ages for water and wine bottles when traveling and camping, and in certain regions as parchment for writing.

Taxonomy

Capra ibex ibex – 03
Male Nubian ibex
  • Genus Capra
    • Wild Goat (Capra aegagrus), and the domestic goat
    • Alpine Ibex (Capra ibex)
    • Walia Ibex (Capra walie)
    • West Caucasian Tur (Capra caucasica)
    • East Caucasian Tur (Capra cylindricornis)
    • Spanish Ibex (Capra pyrenaica)
    • Markhor (Capra falconeri) (National animal of Pakistan)

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Capra (genus) Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.