Physical characteristics

Antilopinae are long-legged, slender, and graceful animals with fawn-colored to reddish brown upper parts and pale un dersides. Stripes can often occur at various locations around the body. Their tail is short or medium in length. Pits are present in the forehead of the skull, with narrow crowns on the molar teeth. On the rather small face, they have glands below their rather large eyes, with other skin glands throughout the body and a narrow, hairy muzzle. The indented pre-orbital glands are well developed. All males and many females grow short- to medium-sized horns (they are shorter and thinner in females when present) that vary greatly in size and shape (often lyre-shaped, or like a "U," but sometimes spiral-shaped, or like a "S") but the basic structure is always one of being: compressed at the base; attached to the frontal bones of the skull; single bony protrusions without branches; covered in a sheath of keratin; never shed; and ringed for part or most of their length. They are very fast on their feet and some species have been clocked at maximum speeds of nearly 60 mph (100 kph). Two-toed lateral hooves are at the ends of their very slender legs. They all have a four-chambered stomach, which allows most of them to digest foods that are too low in nutrients for many other animals, notably grasses.

Thomson's gazelles (Gazella thomsonii) grooming young. (Photo by Animals Animals ©A. & M. Shah. Reproduced by permission.)
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