Bubalus mephistopheles Hopwood, 1925

Short-horned water buffalo



Taxonomy & Nomenclature

Liu et. al. (2004) showed that the Short-horned water buffalo was most probably a truly wild species of buffalo which became extinct some time after 1200 BC, as opposed to it being a domesticated form of buffalo as it had previously been considered to be.


Conservation Status


Last record: c.1200 BC





Biology & Ecology










Original scientific description:

Hopwood, A. T. (1925). A new species of buffalo from the Pleistocene of China. Annals and Magazine of Natural History Ser. 9, 16(92): 238-239.


Other references:

Brunson, Katherine et al. (2016). New insights into the origins of oracle bone divination: Ancient DNA from Late Neolithic Chinese bovines. Journal of Archaeological Science 74: 35-44. [Abstract]

Li Liu, Xingcan Chen and Leping Jiang. (2004). A study of Neolithic water buffalo remains from Zhejiang, China. Indo-pacific Prehistory Association Bulletin 24(2): 113-120.

Teilhard de Chardin, P. and Young, C. C. (1936). On the mammalian remains from the archaeological site of Anyang. Palaeontologica Sinica Series C, 12: 1-78.

Turvey, Samuel T. (2009a). In the shadow of the megafauna: prehistoric mammal and bird extinctions across the Holocene, pp. 17-39. In: Turvey, Samuel T. (ed.). Holocene Extinctions. New York: Oxford University Press.

Turvey, Samuel T. (2009b). Holocene mammal extinctions, pp. 41-61. In: Turvey, Samuel T. (ed.). Holocene Extinctions. Oxford, UK & New York, USA: Oxford University Press. xii + 352 pp.

Turvey, Samuel T. and Fritz, Susanne A. (2011). The ghosts of mammals past: biological and geographical patterns of global mammalian extinction across the Holocene. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 366(1577): 2564-2576. [Supplementary Information]

Turvey, S. T., Tong, H., Stuart, A. J. and Lister, A. M. (2013). Holocene survival of late Pleistocene megafauna in China: a critical review of the evidence. Quaternary Science Reviews 76: 156-166.

Yang, D. Y., Liu, L., Chen, X. and Speller, C. F. (2008). Wild or domesticated: DNA analysis of ancient water buffalo remains from north China. Journal of Archaeological Science 35: 2778-2785.

YOU Yue, YUAN Guangkuo, LIU Chaoyan, CUI Zongliang, CHEN Xianglong, LIANG Meng, ZANG Shuo, LIU Tianyang, WANG Kaidi. (2022). The appearance and utilization of cattle in the ancient Heji area: A zooarchaeological case study from the Mazhuang site, Puyang City, Henan. Quaternary Sciences 42(4): 1108-1117.

Zhang Minghua. (1981). Luojiajiao dongwuqun [Faunal assemblage from Luojiajiao], pp. 43-53. In: Zhejiang Institute of Archaeology (ed.), Zhejiangsheng Wenwu Kaogusuo Xuekan. Beijing: Wenwu Press. (in Chinese)


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