Megalotragus priscus Broom, 1909

Giant wildebeest



Taxonomy & Nomenclature

Synonym/s: Bubalis helmei; Pelorocerus elegans; Connochaetes grandis


Conservation Status


Last record: Late Pleistocene



South Africa


Biology & Ecology










Original scientific description:

Broom, R. (1909). On a large extinct species of Bubalis. Ann. S. Afr. Mus. 7: 279-280.


Other references:

Barnosky A.D., Koch P.L., Feranec R.S., Wing S.L., Shabel A.B. 2004 Assessing the causes of Late Pleistocene extinctions on the continents. Science 306(5693), 70-75.

Beard, Thomas R. et al. (2022). Faunal remains from Grassridge rock shelter, South Africa: ecology and subsistence from the Pleistocene to the Holocene in the Eastern Cape interior. South African Archaeological Bulletin 77(217): 154-162.

Beaumont PB (1990) Wonderwerk Cave. In Beaumont PB and Morris D, eds, Guide to Archaeological Sites in the Northern Cape, pp. 101–134. McGregor Museum, Kimberley.

Brink, J.S., 2005. The Evolution of the Black Wildebeest, Connochaetes gnou, and Modern Large Mammal Faunas in Central South Africa. University of Stellenbosch, South Africa (Ph.D. Thesis).

Brink, J.S., De Bruiyn, H., Rademeyer, L.G., van der Westhuizen, W.A., 1995. A new find of Megalotragus priscus (Alcelaphini, Bovidae) from the central Karoo, South Africa. Palaeontol. Afr. 32: 17-22.

Churchill, S. E. et al. (2000). Erfkroon: a new Florisian fossil locality from fluvial contexts in the western Free State, South Africa. South African Journal of Science 96: 161-163.

Clark, J.L., Plug, I., 2008. Animal exploitation strategies during the South African Middle Stone Age: Howiesons Poort and post-Howiesons Poort fauna from Sibudu Cave. J. Hum. Evol. 54: 886-898.

Codron, D., Brink, J.S., Rossouw, L., Clasuss, M., 2008. The evolution of ecological specialization in southern African ungulates: competition or physical environmental turnover. Oikos 117: 334-353.

Cooke, H. B. S. and Wells, L. W. (1951). Fossil remains from Chelmer, near Bulawayo, Southern Rhodesia. S. Afr. J. Sci. 47(7): 205-209.

Cruz-Uribe, K., 1983. The mammalian fauna from Redcliff Cave, Zimbabwe. S. Afr. Archaeol. Bull. 38: 7-16.

Faith J.T. 2011 Ungulate community richness, grazer extinctions, and human subsistence behavior in southern Africa's Cape Floral Region. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 306(3–4), 219-227. 

Faith, J. Tyler. (2014). Late Pleistocene and Holocene mammal extinctions on continental Africa. Earth-Science Reviews 128: 105-121.

Faith J.T., Choiniere J.N., Tryon C.A., Peppe D.J., Fox D.L. 2011 Taxonomic status and paleoecology of Rusingoryx atopocranion (Mammalia, Artiodactyla), an extinct Pleistocene bovid from Rusinga Island, Kenya. Quaternary Research 75(3), 697-707. [relevant reference?]

Gentry, A.W., 1978. Bovidae. In: Maglio, V.J., Cooke, H.B.S. (Eds.), Evolution of African Mammals. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, pp. 540-572.

Gentry, A.W., 2010a. Bovidae. In: Werdelin, L., Sanders, W.J. (Eds.), Cenozoic Mammals of Africa. University of California Press, Berkeley, pp. 741–796.

Gentry, A.W., Gentry, A., 1978. Fossil Bovidae of Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania. Bull. Br. Mus. Nat. Hist. Geol. Ser. 29: 289-446.

Klein, Richard G. (1978). A preliminary report on the larger mammals from the Boomplaas stone age cave site, Cango Valley, Oudtshoorn District, South Africa. S. Afr. Archaeol. Bull. 33: 66-75.

Klein, R.G., 1980. Environmental and ecological implications of large mammals from Upper Pleistocene and Holocene sites in southern Africa. Ann. S. Afr. Mus. 81: 223-283.

Klein, R.G., 1983. Palaeoenvironmental implications of Quaternary large mammals in the fynbos region. In: Deacon, H.J., Hendey, Q.B., Lambrechts, J.J.N. (Eds.), Fynbos Palaeoecology: A Preliminary Synthesis, South African National Scientific Programmes Report No 75. Mills Litho, Cape Town, pp. 116-138.

Klein, R.G., 1984. Later Stone Age faunal samples from Heuningneskrans Shelter (Transvaal) and Leopard's Hill Cave (Zambia). S. Afr. Archaeol. Bull. 39: 109-116.

Klein, R.G., Cruz-Uribe, K., Beaumont, P.B., 1991. Environmental, ecological, and paleoanthropological implications of the Late Pleistocene mammalian fauna from Equus Cave, Northern Cape Province, South Africa. Quatern. Res. 36: 94-119.

Lee-Thorp, J.A., Beaumont, P.B., 1995. Vegetation and seasonality shifts during the late Quaternary deduced from 13C/12C ratios of grazers at Equus Cave, South Africa. Quatern. Res. 43: 426-432.

van Pletzon-Vos, Liezl et al. (2019). Revisiting Klasies River: a report on the large mammal remains from the Deacon excavations of Klasies River main site, South Africa. South African Archaeological Bulletin 74 (211): 127-137.

Plug, Ina. (2004). Resource exploitation: animal use during the Middle Stone Age at Sibudu Cave, KwaZulu-Natal. South African Journal of Science 100(3-4): 151-158.

Plug, Ina and Badenhorst, Shaw. (2001). The Distribution of Macrornammals in Southern Africa Over the Past 30 000 Years: as reflected in animal remains from archaeological sites. Transvaal Museum Monographs No. 12. Pretoria: Transvaal Museum. [title pagefront matter, pp. 1-13, pp. 14-21, pp. 22-30 pp. 31-88, pp. 89-112, pp. 113-206, pp. 207-228references]

Plug, I., Engela, R., 1992. The macrofaunal remains from recent excavations at Rose Cottage Cave, Orange Free State. S. Afr. Archaeol. Bull. 47: 16-25.

Plummer, T.W., Bishop, L.C., 1994. Hominid paleoecology at Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania, as indicated by antelope remains. J. Hum. Evol. 27: 47-75.

Robbins, L.H., Murphy, M.L., Brook, G.A., Ivester, A.H., Campbell, A.C., Klein, R.G., Milo, R.G., Stewart, K.M., Downey, W.S., Stevens, N.J., 2000. Archaeology, palaeoenvironment, and chronology of the Tsodilo Hills White Paintings Rock Shelter, Northwest Kalahari Desert, Botswana. J. Archaeol. Sci. 27: 1085-1113.

Rossouw, Lloyd. (2006). Florisian mammal fossils from erosional gullies along the Modder River at Mitasrust farm, central Free State,South Africa. Navorsinge van die Nasionale Museum, Blomfontein 22(6): 145-161.

de Ruiter, D., Brophy, J.K., Lewis, P.J., Churchill, S.E., Berger, L.R., 2008. Faunal assemblage composition and paleoenvironment of Plovers Lake, a Middle Stone Age locality in Gauteng Province, South Africa. J. Hum. Evol. 2008: 1102-1117.

Scott, K.M., 1985. Allometric trends and locomotor adaptations in the Bovidae. Bull. Am. Mus. Nat. Hist. 179: 197-288.

Smith F.A., Lyons S.K., Ernest S.K.M., Jones K.E., Kaufman D.M., Dayan T., Marquet P.A., Brown J.H., Haskell J.P. 2003 Body mass of late Quaternary mammals. Ecology 84(12), 3403-3403.

Thackeray, A.I., Thackeray, J.F., Beaumont, P.B., Vogel, J.C. (1981). Dated rock engravings from Wonderwerk Cave, South Africa. Science 214: 64-67.

Thackeray, John Francis. (1983). On Darwin, extinctions and South African fauna. Discovery 16(2): 2-11.

Thackeray, John Francis. (2015). Faunal Remains from Holocene Deposits, Excavation 1, Wonderwerk Cave, South Africa. African Archaeological Review. DOI: 10.1007/s10437-015-9201-z [Abstract]

Thackeray, John Francis and Watson, V. (1994). A preliminary account of faunal remains from Plovers Lake. South African Journal of Science 90(4): 231-232.

Turvey, Samuel T. (2009). 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]


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