Hassanin A., Ropiquet A., Cornette R., Tranier M., Pfeffer P., Candegabe P., Lemaire M. 2006.
Has the kouprey (Bos sauveli Urbain, 1937) been domesticated in Cambodia?
C. R. Biologies 329: 124-135.
The kouprey (Bos sauveli Urbain, 1937) is a very rare bovid species of Cambodia , which may be extinct in the wild, as no living specimen has been observed for a long time. Here, we describe a complete taxidermy mount, which presents tonishing morphological similarities with the kouprey. The animal was mounted in 1871 at the National Museum of Natural History in Paris , where it was referenced as No. 1871-576. It was deposited at the Natural History Museum of Bourges, France, in 1931, where it is still conserved today. To clarify the taxonomic status of the specimen of Bourges , DNA was extracted from a piece of bone taken on the mandible, and two different fragments of the mitochondrial cytochrome b gene were independently amplified and sequenced. The phylogenetic analyses show that the specimen of Bourges is robustly associated with the holotype of the kouprey, and that both are related to other wild species of Bos found in Indochina , i.e., banteng (B. javanicus) and gaur (B. frontalis). Because of doubts for sexing the animal, we applied a molecular test based on the PCR amplification of a DNA fragment specific to the Y chromosome. The results indicate that the specimen of Bourges is a male. The comparisons with male kouprey previously described in the literature reveal important differences concerning the body size, general coloration and horns. As these differences involve phenotypic traits that are strongly selected in case of domestication, we suggest that the specimen of Bourges was a domestic ox. This implies therefore that the kouprey may have been domesticated in Cambodia , and that several extant local races may be directly related to the kouprey.
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