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, 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.

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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