Bluebuck (Vienna skin)

Bluebuck (Vienna skin)

The bluebuck or blue antelope (Hippotragus leucophaeus) is an extinct species of antelope that lived in South Africa until around 1800. Now, only four mounted specimens remain, in museums in Leiden, Stockholm, Vienna, and Paris. The largest mounted bluebuck specimen is 119 centimetres (47 in) tall at the withers. Its horns measure 56.5 centimetres (22.2 in) along the curve.

Europeans encountered the bluebuck in the 17th century, but it was already uncommon by then, perhaps due to its preferred grassland habitat having been reduced to a 4,300-square-kilometre (1,700 sq mi) range, mainly along the southern coast of South Africa. Sea level changes during the early Holocene may also have contributed to its decline by disrupting the population.

Image (Wikipedia): one of four existing bluebuck skins, Vienna Museum of Natural History. The overall blue coloration is caused by the lighting.

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