AskDefine | Define ibex

Dictionary Definition

ibex n : wild goat of mountain areas of Eurasia and northern Africa having large recurved horns [syn: Capra ibex] [also: ibices (pl)]

User Contributed Dictionary



  • /'aɪbɛks/


  1. a type of wild mountain goat of the genus Capra, such as the species Capra ibex


type of wild mountain goat

Extensive Definition

An ibex, commonly called by its French name: bouquetin also called Steinbock in German, is a type of wild mountain goat with large recurved horns that are transversely ridged in front. Ibex are found in Eurasia, North Africa, and East Africa. The name ibex comes from Latin, borrowed from Iberian or Aquitanian, akin to Old Spanish bezerro "bull", modern Spanish becerro "yearling". Ranging in height from 27 to 43 inches and weighing 200 to 270 pounds (90 to 120 kg), the ibex can live 20 years.

Sexual dimorphism

Male ibex are commonly larger and heavier than females. However, the most noticeable difference between genders is the presence of large horns. Females will keep a pair of smaller, thinner horns that grow considerably more slowly than the males'. The ibex's horns begin to grow at sexual maturity and continue to do so throughout the rest of the animal's life.

Ibex species

The six species of ibex are grouped below
  • The Alpine Ibex (Capra ibex) is found in the European Alps. Alpine ibex are found in Bulgaria, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, Germany, and Slovenia, and have been introduced to ranches in the United States, Canada, and Argentina.
  • The Nubian Ibex (Capra nubiana) occurs in the Middle East. Occurs in the Red Sea hills of Sudan as well as the highlands in Egypt. Nubian ibex are heavily preyed upon by Wazzi shepherds.
  • South Eastern
  • Beceite
  • Ronda
  • Gredos
  • Mid-Asian
  • Altay
  • Gobi
  • Himalayan
  • The Wild Goat (Capra aegagrus) is found in the Middle East. The Wild Goats are separated into four geographical races:
  • Persian Desert Ibex
  • Sindh Ibex
  • Bezoar Ibex
  • Kri-Kri Ibex

In ancient history

Evidence of the ibex is present in the archaeological record, particularly in the Near East and Mediterranean regions. Excavations from Minoan Crete at Knossos, for example, have yielded specimens from about 1800 BC, including one cylinder seal with an ibex defending himself from a hunting dog. From the similar age a gold jewelry ibex image was found at the Akrotiri archaeological site on Santorini in present day Greece.
An Iron Age capra ibex specimen was recovered at the Aq Kupruk archaeological site in present day Afghanistan, illustrating either domestication or hunting at the ibex by these early peoples.


ibex in Bulgarian: Алпийски козирог
ibex in German: Steinbock
ibex in Esperanto: Ibekso
ibex in French: Bouquetin
ibex in Hebrew: יעל נובי
ibex in Macedonian: Козорог
ibex in Dutch: Steenbok (dier)
ibex in Portuguese: Ibex dos Alpes
ibex in Slovenian: Alpski kozorog
ibex in Swedish: Stenbock (däggdjur)
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