history

It was first mentioned in the 40’s of the 19th century. Dr. E. J. Gray described Giant eland (Boselaphus derbianus) (Gray 1847) on the basis of two skins of animals shut in Senegambia with Mr. T. Whitfield (collector of the 13th Lord of Derby). The world was astounded at the size and majesty of this antelope (Bro-Jørgensen 1997).

In 1862, after having visited Senegambia, W. Reade informed of the existence of an enormous antelope that the native hunters called Djink-i-junka („the bush used to be dark”) and describes the occurrence of these animals in the shrubby and impenetrable landscape. A year later Dr. Martin Theodore von Heuglin organized an expedition to the area of the White Nile (today’s Sudan), where he found the horns of a Giant eland that was described as an eastern subspecies of Taurotragus derbianus gigas (von Heuglin 1864). This place was 6000 km from Senegambia...

…from this time to present this antelope was only in interest of hunters for its size, bright senses and difficulty of bring closer to this antelope in blind bushy terrain. Scientific knowledge was completed only on the basis of tall story of hunters. The result of this disproportionate human conduct is the rapid decrease of Giant eland population. The Giant eland is mentioned many times in the reports from explorers and sport hunters. The first professional works involving its description and taxonomic categorisation were Flower and Lydekker (1891); Lydekker (1893); Lydekker (1914); Roosevelt and Heller (1914). Dorst and Dandelot (1970) and Kingdon (1982, 2001) engaged themselves in the Giant eland’s morphology and distribution.

Go on to Phylogeny →

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