Evolution and systematics

The Cephalophinae belong to the neotragine radiation of bovids. The ancestors of these browsing antelope first appeared during the Miocene, and later invaded Africa and Asia. Although their fossil record is sparse, Cephalophinae share many similarities with early bovids.

Modern Cephalophinae include 18 species represented by two genera, Sylvicapra and Cephalophus. Sixty-five subspecies have been identified. Cephalophus can be divided into four subgenera, which can be described as the conservative dwarfs, the diverse red duiker lineage, the fiber duiker lineage, and the giant duiker species. Several researchers have argued that the conservative dwarf subgenus is, in fact, a unique genus, Philan-tomba.

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