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Images of a few members of the family Cervidae clockwise from top left consisting of the red deer , the sika deer , the barasingha , the reindeer , and the white-tailed deer.

Ice Age Deer

Two Different Species

A fall in the sea-level led to massive glaciation; consequently, grasslands abounded in nutritious forage. Thus a new spurt in deer populations ensued. The tribes Capreolini and Rangiferini appeared around 4—7 Mya. Large deer with impressive antlers evolved during the early Pleistocene, probably as a result of abundant resources to drive evolution. The Irish elk reached 2 metres 6. Deer constitute the artiodactyl family Cervidae.

Three subfamilies are recognised: Other attempts at the classification of deer have been based on morphological and genetic differences. He treated the musk deer as a cervid, placing it under Telemetacarpalia.

While the telemetacarpal deer showed only those elements located far from the joint, the plesiometacarpal deer retained the elements closer to the joint as well.

In , the zoologists Colin Groves and Peter Grubb identified three subfamilies: Cervinae, Hydropotinae and Odocoileinae; they noted that the hydropotines lack antlers, and the other two subfamilies differ in their skeletal morphology.

Until the beginning of the 21st century it was understood that the family Moschidae musk deer is sister to Cervidae. However, a phylogenetic study by Alexandre Hassanin of National Museum of Natural History, France and colleagues, based on mitochondrial and nuclear analyses, revealed that Moschidae and Bovidae form a clade sister to Cervidae.

According to the study, Cervidae diverged from the Bovidae-Moschidae clade 27 to 28 million years ago. Studies in the late 20th century suggested a similar bifurcation in the family. This as well as previous studies support monophyly in Cervinae, while Capreolinae appears paraphyletic.

The following cladogram is based on the study. Moose or Eurasian elk. The subfamily Capreolinae consists of 9 genera and 36 species, while Cervinae comprises 10 genera and 55 species. Deer were an important source of food for early hominids. In China, Homo erectus fed upon the sika deer , while the red deer was hunted in Germany. In the Upper Palaeolithic , the reindeer was the staple food for Cro-Magnon people, [85] while the cave paintings at Lascaux in southwestern France include some 90 images of stags.

Deer had a central role in the ancient art, culture and mythology of the Hittites , the ancient Egyptians , the Celts , the ancient Greeks , the Asians and several others. In China , deer are associated with great medicinal significance; deer penis is thought by some in China to have aphrodisiac properties.

Deer was the principal sacrificial animal for the Huichal Indians of Mexico. In medieval Europe, deer appeared in hunting scenes and coats-of-arms. Deer are depicted in many materials by various pre-Hispanic civilizations in the Andes. The common male first name Oscar is taken from the Irish Language , where it is derived from two elements: The name was popularised in the 18th century by James Macpherson , creator of 'Ossianic poetry'.

Deer have been an integral part of fables and other literary works since the inception of writing. Stags were used as symbols in the latter Sumerian writings. For instance, the boat of Sumerian god Enki is named the Stag of Azbu. There are several mentions of the animal in the Rigveda as well as the Bible. In the Indian epic Ramayana , Sita is lured by a golden deer which Rama tries to catch.

In the absence of both Rama and Lakshman , Ravana kidnaps Sita. For instance, "The Sick Stag" gives the message that uncaring friends can do more harm than good. Pascolas would perform at religious and social functions many times of the year, especially during Lent and Easter. In one of Rudolf Erich Raspe 's stories of Baron Munchausen 's Narrative of his Marvellous Travels and Campaigns in Russia , the baron encounters a stag while eating cherries and, without ammunition, fires the cherry-pits at the stag with his musket, but it escapes.

The next year, the baron encounters a stag with a cherry tree growing from its head; presumably this is the animal he had shot at the previous year. In Christmas lore such as in the narrative poem " A Visit from St. Nicholas " , reindeer are often depicted pulling the sleigh of Santa Claus. The fiction book Fire Bringer is about a young fawn who goes on a quest to save the Herla, the deer kind.

Lewis 's fantasy novel The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe the adult Pevensies, now kings and queens of Narnia , chase the White Stag on a hunt, as the Stag is said to grant its captor a wish. The hunt is key in returning the Pevensies to their home in England. Deer are represented in heraldry by the stag or hart , or less often, by the hind , and the brocket a young stag up to two years , respectively.

Stag's heads and antlers also appear as charges. The old name for deer was simply cerf, and it is chiefly the head that appears on the ancient arms. Examples of deer in coats of arms can be found in the arms of Hertfordshire , England, and its county town of Hertford ; both are examples of canting arms. Deer have long had economic significance to humans. Deer meat, known as venison , is highly nutritious and beneficial for human consumption.

Due to the inherently wild nature and diet of deer, venison is most often obtained through deer hunting. Domestically, it is produced in small amounts compared to beef but still represents a significant trade.

By , some 25, tons of red deer were raised on farms in North America. The skins make a peculiarly strong, soft leather, known as buckskin.

There is nothing special about skins with the fur on since the hair is brittle and soon falls off. The hoofs and horns are used for ornamental purposes, especially the antlers of the roe deer , which are utilized for making umbrella handles, and for similar purposes; elk horn is often employed in making knife handles.

In China, a medicine is made from stag horn, and the antlers of certain species are eaten when "in the velvet". Deer have long been bred in captivity as ornaments for parks, but only in the case of reindeer has thorough domestication succeeded. Deer bred for hunting are selected based on the size of the antlers.

Automobile collisions with deer can impose a significant cost on the economy. In , , licensed deer hunters killed approximately , white-tailed deer to procure venison, control the deer population, and minimize the spread of disease. These hunters purchased more than 1. The economic value of deer hunting to Michigan's economy is substantial. Deer hunting is a popular activity in the U. The survey by the U. This revenue generally goes to support conservation efforts in the states where the licenses are purchased.

The word deer was originally broad in meaning, becoming more specific with time. However, all modern Germanic languages save English and Scots retain the more general sense: For most types of deer in modern English usage, the male is a buck and the female a doe , but the terms vary with dialect, and according to the size of the species.

The male red deer is a stag , while for other large species the male is a bull , the female a cow , as in cattle. In older usage, the male of any species is a hart , especially if over five years old, and the female is a hind , especially if three or more years old.

A castrated male is a havier. The adjective of relation is cervine ; like the family name Cervidae , this is from Latin: From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This article is about the ruminant animal. For other uses, see Deer disambiguation. For other uses, see Fawn disambiguation and Stag disambiguation.

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Retrieved 16 June International Wildlife Encyclopedia 3rd ed. Developmental and Evolutionary Skeletal Biology. A Natural History of the Reindeer. Management and Diseases of Deer: A Handbook for the Veterinary Surgeon 2nd ed. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Annual Review of Ecology, Evolution, and Systematics.

The Encyclopedia of Mammals. Deer Antlers Regeneration, Function and Evolution. Evolution of Tertiary Mammals of North America 1st ed. Deer of the Southwest: Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. Annalen des Naturhistorischen Museums in Wien. American Journal of Science. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society. Systematics, morphology, and biogeography" PDF. Characteristics, evolution, and relationships with the tribe Cervini".

Journal of Animal and Plant Sciences. Antelopes, Deer, and Relatives: Evolutionary Ecology Research 1: Mammal Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference 3rd ed. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London. Biology and Management of the Cervidae: International Journal of Biology. Speciation in Cervus and implications for conservation".

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European Neogene Mammal Chronology. United States Geological Survey. Probing the Mysteries of the World's First Artists 1st ed. Retrieved 23 June Readings in Indigenous Religions. Retrieved 27 March Fire Bringer 1st American ed. Agricultural Marketing Resource Center. Retrieved 11 April Retrieved 28 August Retrieved 5 April Retrieved 11 July A survey of prevalence and a semi-quantitative assessment of the relative risks to cattle".

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