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Russian Journal of Theriology

Cranial morphometry and taxonomy of argali, Ovis ammon (Artiodactyla, Bovidae), from former Soviet Union and Mongolia // Russian J. Theriol. Vol.3 (for 2004). No.2: 89106 [in English].

A partial revision of the subspecies taxonomy of argali Ovisammon was done on the basis of cranial features using the modern statistical methods (discriminant analysis, cluster analysis, multidimensional scaling). Skulls of mature males from different populations of the former Soviet Union and Mongolia were studied. A system of measurements and characters was developed for the thorough description of the skull and its bones. Three discrete cranial types were distinguished: Nuratau (O.a.severtzovi), Kyrgyz-Kazakhstan (O.a.nigrimontana, O.a.polii, and O.a.karelini) and Mongolian (O.a.ammon and O.a.darwini). A clear isolation of O.a.severtzovi from other argalis was noted, as well as from moufflons and urials. Differences between O.a.collium and O.a.karelini do not attain the subspecies level; therefore, these forms are combined into the subspecies O.a.karelini. O.a.ammon and O.a.darwini form a group isolated from other argalis and differentiated into two subspecies based on the discriminant analysis. Key words : Ovisammon, cranial morphometry, subspecies level taxonomy, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Mongolia.