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Cervpspl

After extinction of significant part of large hoofed mammals their place was occupied with representatives of other groups of mammals: in Palearctic there are large running descendants of lagomorphs, and in Nearctic and Neotropic areas – descendants of South-American rodents. Only south of Africa appeared rather isolated from the Sahara savanna by woods and mountains. Here again species of herbivorus mammals have remained relicts of Holocene dominant: various hoofed mammals, descendants of small antelopes and chevrotains. Occupying ecological niches exempted after mass extinction they turned to species similar to well-known in human epoch antelopes and deer. At some species even big horns have appeared – it is a rarity among Neocenic herbivores. The deersimil is not the most numerous species among South-African hoofed mammals. It keeps in small herds sometimes together with other species of herbivores. This animal is the descendant of small and short-legged African chevrotains (Tragulus). Having remained out of competition from the side of bovines chevrotains roughly have started to evolve having formed the separate family of false deer – rather large swift-footed hoofed mammals. In comparison with ancestors deersimil is a sizable animal: its growth at a shoulder is up to 1.5 m, body length is up to 1.6 m. By constitution it resembles small antelopes and gazelles. This is one of most swift-footed hoofed mammals of Neocene: at short distances deersimil accelerates momentum up to 80 kms per hour. Because of long legs usual pace of this animal is an amble but deersimil develops maximal speed running gallop. Colouring of deersimil helps it to hide among vegetation: body is covered with chestnut-brown wool; on groats and hips there are thin vertical strips of yellow color. Stomach, bottom part of neck and head sides are white. Cubs are colored lighter: the basic colouring at them is straw-colour with longitudinal brown strips on body (by colouring they are similar to boar piglets); on groats and hips strips are bent downwards. In process of growth striped pattern on the body vanishes and on hips becomes more contrast. This animal has horns on head. But as against deer horns deersimil horns are constantly growing (not dropping as at deer), shovel-like and with several jags (“antlers”). These horns are a little similar to horns of African prehistoric giraffes Sivatherium. Bases of horns are enough strong and extended along of skull; horns grow on head of animal in parallel to each other. Horns of females resemble more longitudinal crests with two jags at back edge. At males horns are larger and it can be up to 5 - 7 jags on them; horn tops at males slightly inclinate in sides. New jags appear on forward part of horn: at old males horns are sometimes similar to rooster crest. Similarly to deer deersimil uses horns as the tournament weapon - opponents approach to each other so that horn jags get in dredgings on contender’s horns. At the duel basically a power struggle takes place – contenders try to push aside and tumble down each other. From senses at deersimil hearing and sense of smell are most sharply advanced. Other herbivores use it watching for behaviour of these animals for detection of probable danger. In case of alarm the deersimil utters special shout - sharp whistle warning of neighbours and other animals grazed near about danger. Rescuing from predator deersimil hopes for the speed in many respects - few predators can catch up adult animal full of forces. Even two-day cubs are already almost equal in speed to adults though, certainly, they get tired much faster. Deersimil eats mainly graminoids. Grazing animal bites off only their tops; after feeding of this animal other species of herbivores can find enough food at the same place to themselves. Especially deersimil likes cones of graminoids in condition of wax ripeness: thus some graminoids differ in sweetish taste. Usually deersimil feeds during dawn and sunset and spends hottest time of day in tree shadow. For protection from overheat deersimil uses the original adaptation – its own horns. As against deer horns they are always combined by alive growing bone. Outside of breeding season skin on horns is plentifully penetrated with blood vessels serving as fine radiator: blood emits heat to air. But in breeding season because of hormonal influence blood vessels in basis of horns are narrowed and substantially block stream of blood to horns that protects males from blood loss at casual wounds. Breeding season at deersimils begins at the end of rain season. Between males there are short skirmishes for “harem” of several females (depending on physical condition male can declare rights to 4 – 10 females). Opponents usually avoid to enter direct fight and all can be limited to demonstration of force: males bellow bassy, dig ground by hoof, widely open mouthes and show teeth. Sometimes they rear and showing to each other the might make some steps on rear legs. Usually one of contenders leaves stadium without fight. Time of pairing proceeds only about one week and then aggression of males is reduced also they become tolerant concerning to each other again feeding sometimes side by side. After dry season female gives rise to one or two cubs (about half of females fawns twins). As at all hoofed mammals cub is born advanced and in some hours it is capable to follow mother. First two months it feeds by milk but from fortnight age it already tries plants copying mother. To the end of rain season it becomes independent, but stays in herd. Sexual maturity at females comes at the age of one and half years, at males at two years.

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