|Female quagga in London Zoo, 1870|
|Subspecies:||†E. q. quagga|
|†Equus quagga quagga
The quagga (Equus quagga quagga) is an extinct subspecies of the plains zebra, which was once found in great numbers in the Karoo of the former Cape Province and the southern part of the former Orange Free State in South Africa.
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The quagga was originally classified as an individual species, Equus quagga, in 1778. Over the next 200 years or so, many other zebras were described by naturalists and explorers. Because of the great variation in coat patterns (no two zebras are alike), taxonomists were left with a great number of described "species", and no easy way to tell which of these were true species, which were subspecies, and which were simply natural variants.
Because of the confusion between different zebra species, particularly among the general public, the quagga had become extinct before it was realized that it may have been a separate species.
The quagga was the first extinct creature to have its DNA studied. Recent genetic research at the Smithsonian Institution has demonstrated that the quagga was, in fact, not a separate species at all, but diverged from the extremely variable plains zebra, Equus burchelli, between 120,000 and 290,000 years ago. This fact suggests that it should be named Equus burchelli quagga; however, according to the rules of biological nomenclature, where there are two or more alternative names for a single species, the name first used takes priority. As the quagga was described about thirty years earlier than the plains zebra, it appears that the correct terms are E. quagga quagga for the quagga and E. quagga burchelli for the plains zebra, unless "Equus burchelli" is officially declared to be a nomen conservandum.
It was distinguished from other zebras by having the usual vivid stripes on the front part of the body only. In the midsection, the stripes faded and became wider, amalgamating into the plain brown of the rear parts. The legs completely lacked stripes and were lightly coloured.
Range and habitat 
The quagga lived in the drier parts of South Africa, on grassland. The northern limit seems to have been the Orange River in the west and the Vaal River in the east; the southeastern border may have been the Great Kei River.
The quagga was hunted to extinction for meat, hides, and to preserve feed for domesticated stock. The last wild quagga was probably shot in the late 1870s, and the last specimen in captivity, a mare, died on August 12, 1883, at the Natura Artis Magistra zoo in Amsterdam.
There is a record of a quagga bred to a horse in the 1896 work Anomalies and Curiosities of Medicine by George M. Gould and Walter L. Pyle:
In his 1859 The Origin of Species, Charles Darwin recalls seeing coloured drawings of zebra-donkey hybrids, and mentions "Lord Moreton's famous hybrid from a chesnut  mare and male quagga..." Darwin mentioned this particular hybrid again in 1868 in The Variation of Animals and Plants under Domestication, and provides a citation to the journal in which Lord Morton first described the breeding.
Breeding resembling zebras 
After the very close relationship between the quagga and surviving zebras was discovered, the Quagga Project was started by Reinhold Rau (1932–2006) in South Africa to recreate the quagga by selective breeding from plains zebra stock, with the eventual aim of reintroducing them to the wild. This type of selective breeding is also called breeding back. A foal of the Quagga Project, named Henry, was born on 20 January 2005. In early 2006, the third and fourth generation animals produced by the project were reported to look very much like the depictions and preserved specimens of the quagga. The practice of breeding back generally, and specifically whether optic similarity alone are enough to declare that this project has truly recreated the original quagga, are both controversial.
DNA from mounted specimens was successfully extracted in 1984, but the technology to use recovered DNA for breeding does not exist. In addition to skins such as the one held by the Natural History Museum in London, there are 23 known stuffed and mounted quagga throughout the world. A twenty-fourth specimen was destroyed in Königsberg, Germany (now Kaliningrad, Russia), during World War II.
In culture 
A quagga appears in a sequence in the Soviet Union's animated film The Cat Who Walked by Herself, in which a dog tracks the hoofprints of one, and a cat tells a boy of the Red Book of endangered species, and how Quagga had "her track severed" (that is, made extinct) due to Man's selfish actions. The animal can be unlocked in the computer game Zoo Tycoon 2: Extinct Animals.
Quaggas have appeared in several books including The Mysterious Island, Jurassic Park, The Lost World, Artemis Fowl: The Time Paradox by Eoin Colfer, Skybreaker by Kenneth Oppel, King Solomon's Mines by H. Rider Haggard and the short story "King of the Beasts" by Philip José Farmer. A quagga is one of the main characters in The Katurran Odyssey, a fantasy children's book by David Michael Wieger.
See also 
- Hack, M.A., East, R. & Rubenstein, D.I. (2008). Equus quagga quagga. In: IUCN 2008. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Retrieved 5 January 2008.
- "Equus quagga quagga". The Extinction Website. Reference May 19, 2008.
- Lowenstein, J. M.; Ryder, O. A. (1985). "Immunological systematics of the extinct quagga (Equidae)". Experientia 41 (9): 1192–1193. doi:10.1007/BF01951724. PMID 4043335.
- Hofreiter, M.; Caccone, A.; Fleischer, R. C.; Glaberman, S.; Rohland, N.; Leonard, J. A. (2005). "A rapid loss of stripes: The evolutionary history of the extinct quagga". Biology Letters 1 (3): 291–295. doi:10.1098/rsbl.2005.0323. PMC 1617154. PMID 17148190.
- Hartwell, S. Hybrid Mammals. Downloaded at July 24, 2006
- Science as a way of knowing: the foundations of modern biology:(page 245) By John Alexander Moore ISBN 0-674-79482-6, ISBN 978-0-674-79482-5
- Darwin, C. 1883. The Variation of Animals and Plants Under Domestication. Second Edition, Revised. D. Appleton & Co, New York.
- Harley, E. H.; Knight, M. H.; Lardner, C.; Wooding, B.; Gregor, M. (2009). "The Quagga Project: Progress over 20 Years of Selective Breeding". South African Journal of Wildlife Research 39 (2): 155. doi:10.3957/056.039.0206.
- Max, D.T. (January 1, 2006). "Can You Revive an Extinct Animal?". The New York Times Magazine. Retrieved October 14, 2011.
- Freeman, C. (2009). "Ending Extinction: The Quagga, the Thylacine, and the “Smart Human”". Leonardo's Choice. pp. 235–256. doi:10.1007/978-90-481-2479-4_13. ISBN 978-90-481-2478-7.
- Ouzman, S.; Taçon, P. S. C.; Mulvaney, K.; Fullager, R. (2002). "Extraordinary Engraved Bird Track from North Australia: Extinct Fauna, Dreaming Being and/or Aesthetic Masterpiece?". Cambridge Archaeological Journal 12: 103. doi:10.1017/S0959774302000057.
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- The Quagga Project
- PBS Nature: Restoring the Quagga
- Quagga Quest. Can we bring back a long-extinct animal? (Slate)
- Real Life Jurassic Park? Scientists claim to 'restore' extinct zebra (ABC News)