Talk:Hyrax

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Units of Measurement[edit]

In the introduction of the article: "They are about one-third the size of a Corgi;"

I don't believe the Corgi is an accepted international standard unit of measurement. Minetruly (talk) 19:22, 22 October 2009 (UTC)


Pets[edit]

Can you buy one? They are SOOOO darling. I'd love to give one a cuddle 63.26.103.175 (talk) 05:30, 6 November 2008 (UTC)genevieve

Wild animals seldom make cuddly pets. Pets like dogs have been bred for thousands of years to be amiable with humans. Minetruly (talk) 19:22, 22 October 2009 (UTC)

Actually, they do make good pets. A couple of researchers here have be given licences to raise them as house pets, as part of the effort to understand their system of vocal communication. I understand that they're pleasant and loving animals to have around. Hence the userbox:
RockHyraxJuvenile.JPG
This user would like to have a pet Rock hyrax.
Unfortunately, having a dog at home makes it inappropriate :-( Arikk (talk) 21:35, 22 October 2009 (UTC)

Realtives?[edit]

I've read that the Hyrax is the closest living relative of the elephant. Can anyone confirm or deny? --Dante Alighieri 08:16, 25 Oct 2003 (UTC)

A BBC documentary of 2000 - "Hyrax, Little Brother of the Elephant" - narrated by David Attenborough - is airing currently on the cable station "Animal Planet". There are several behavioural and morphological similarities between hyraxes and elephants. At latest report, there are even microscopic similarities in the blood. The title of the documentary refers to an ancient African myth. --yoyo 12:50, 8 December 2005 (UTC) 13:51, 24 Apr 2004 (UTC)

Hyraxes are probably related to elephants, but aren't sirenians (dugongs and manatees) much closer relatives of elephants?--Jyril 18:51, 15 October 2005 (UTC)
My understanding is that the jury is still out on that one. The elephant connection with sirenia is only one hypothesis. I'm no expert though. This article is about a 50-million yr old sirenian and doesn't mention elephants at all. The Singing Badger 19:01, 15 October 2005 (UTC)
According to this paper from nature (http://www.nature.com.ezp2.bath.ac.uk/nature/journal/v292/n5823/abs/292538a0.html) hyraxes, sirenians and aardvarks all share a common ancestor, forming a clade. This clade shares a common ancestor with elephants. This would mean that the hyraxes are more closely related to dugongs and manatees than elephants, and that dugongs, manatees, hyraxes and aardvarks are equally related to elephants. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Secondus2 (talkcontribs) 16:06, 17 December 2013 (UTC)

Compare the Spanish version of this page with the English. In English, there are "about 11" named species, whilst in Spanish there are only 4 species whose names have not been fixed.  :-) What gives? --yoyo 12:50, 8 December 2005 (UTC) 13:55, 24 Apr 2004 (UTC)

It used to be thought that there were eleven species, but the latest thinking is that there are actually only four, with the others being sub-species. Anaxial (talk) 18:05, 19 November 2007 (UTC)

Yes, it's true. (For now at least). Sirenians and aardvarks are also elephant cousins, but most sources I've seen say hyraxes are the closest living relatives of the elephant.211.72.233.3 09:34, 24 June 2006 (UTC)

Given the urban legend/myth/misconception/whatever of elephants being afraid of mice, I've always found it ironic that a small rodent-like animal is the closest living relative of the elephant. The_Irrelevant_One 09:55, 11 September 2006 (UTC)
Yes; they aren't very close relatives of the elephant, but they are closer than anything else left alive today.

Lol, true for now. Remember that Futurama episode where they spoofed the dubious ancestry with that conquered alien spider race that was reported to be 'more closely related to our elephants than our spiders!'

It's not even a rodent! Plus elephants aren't afraid of mice at all. Dora Nichov 14:05, 2 February 2007 (UTC)

Mythbusters proved it. It's logical too, anything large and slow is going to be a bit afraid of something small that it can't keep very good visual track of. We get freaked out by darting insects or skittering spiders for the same reason. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 75.73.70.113 (talk) 06:56, 1 March 2009 (UTC)

Rock Badgers?[edit]

I've heard Hyraxs refered to as rock badgers but I can't find any hard facts on this? Can anyone confirm so it can be added to the page? It'd be good to clarify one way or the other.

I seem to recall 'rock badgers' in the Bible.... The Singing Badger 18:53, 15 October 2005 (UTC)


Added a period 6-23-06

"more closely related to X than to each other"?[edit]

From the article: "Elephants (Proboscidea) and hyraxes (Hyracoidae) are both more closely related to manatees and dugongs (Sirenia) than they are to one another."

This doesn't seem logically possible, unless elephants and hyraxes were descended from sirenians,
                        elephants
                    --<
                   /    sirenians
common ancestor --<                 ???
                   \    sirenians
                    --<
                        hyraxes
which can't be right. Glycerinester 05:29, 19 April 2007 (UTC)


I think there is a problem with the tree diagram above. It suggests that sirenians evolved indpendently from two diffent branches. --ManInStone 12:30, 24 April 2007 (UTC)

hence 'this can't be right'
I own a copy of the book from which the quote is taken. Unfortunately, I have been unable to find the quote in my copy to put it in context, and the user does not provide a page reference. What the book does have is a cladogram (p.252), taken from the Asher paper (which I have cited), which looks like this:
                     hyraxes
                    /
common ancestor --<
                    \   sirenians
                     --<
                         \   embrithopods
                          --<
                             elephants
The text on that page talks about 'strong' evidence that the three really do form a single clade, but does not elaborate further on relationships within that clade. It may well, of course, do so elsewhere, that I have just been unable to locate. Anaxial (talk) 23:03, 19 November 2007 (UTC)
Ah ha! I have dug back through the diffs, and at one point, the page reference was provided, but was subsequently deleted. Having checked the pages in question, I can confirm that the words do not appear anywhere in the book, and appear to be a paraphrase of something the original editor has misunderstood. I am therefore deleting them. Anaxial (talk) 00:00, 20 November 2007 (UTC)

"Common Name"[edit]

What are the common names for these creatures. Are these the same as "Dassies", "Rock Rates", etc? ManInStone

'Hyrax' is the common name for the animals. However, 'dassie' is an alternative name for Rock Hyraxes (genus Procavia) specifically. Anaxial (talk) 18:03, 19 November 2007 (UTC)

Bias slander?[edit]

The following statement is on the end of the historical paragraph: "related to the elephant...you faggots....fuck bush and republicans can suck bush up". As much as I think Bush is not doing a adequate job as the President of the United States of America. This stament is unjustified content --John M. Hager 14:53, 23 July 2007 (UTC)

common name[edit]

I have no knowledge of Hyrax. A crossword puzzle clue of "Cony" had the answer "DAS". It might be worthwhile to add "Das" to the list of common names. 71.245.235.43 17:34, 25 July 2007 (UTC)Chuck Bradley

Coprophagy:[edit]

In Historical Accounts, a citation is required for:

"they are not true cud chewers in the modern sense of the term, but rather coprophages. After eating, they ferment and partially digest their food; their cecum plays a similar role in this process to a cow's rumen. After passing this partially-digested food, they re-ingest it and complete the digestive process. Once digestion is complete, they pass feces of a different texture which they do not re-ingest"

I am not aware of any such observation, and it is in conflict with Characteristics which states the more accepted opinion:

"hyraxes do not chew cud to help extract nutrients from coarse, low-grade leaves and grasses. They do, however, have complex, multi-chambered stomachs which allow symbiotic bacteria to break down tough plant materials, and their overall ability to digest fibre is similar to that of the ungulates."

Arikk (talk) 18:14, 10 August 2008 (UTC)


These sources about hyraxes mention neither rumination nor coprophagy:

Differential feeding behaviour of the sympatric hyrax Procavia johnstoni and Heterohyrax brucei, H. N. Hoeck, Oecologia Volume 22, Number 1 (März 1975)[1]

Diet of Tree Hyraxes Dendrohyrax arboreus (Hyracoidea: Procaviidae) in the Eastern Cape, South Africa Angela Gaylard and Graham I. H. Kerley Journal of Mammalogy, Vol. 78, No. 1 (Feb., 1997)[2]

Procavia capensis Nancy Olds and Jeheskel Shoshani Mammalian Species, No. 171, Procavia capensis (May 25, 1982), pp. 1-7 [3]

Larkusix (talk) 14:45, 13 March 2009 (UTC)

Historical Account[edit]

Is it now the case that impossible to check theology is being accepted as historical reference? Whilst I grant that finding another error in this 'source' amuses me, I can't really see it as being relevant to an article that requires veracity in verification. Is it acceptable to rename this part of the entry or--better-- simply delete it? Best, Drieux 03:06, 19 September 2009 (UTC)

The information in these pages need not be proven, only verifiable. Users are welcome to check the cited references and make up their own minds. See for instance the (possibly unreliable, certainly dated) reference I inserted concerning the origin of the name Hispania. Certainly, information should not be purged because of one's particular beliefs on the veracity or otherwise of religion. Arikk (talk) 21:28, 7 October 2009 (UTC)

Kosher[edit]

I undid Kuratowski's ghost's edit (sorry...). It's not so interesting whether or not the hyrax is kosher - unless you want to hunt or breed them, and they're a protected species in Israel so you can't do either anyway. What's interesting is the issue of whether they chew the cud or not. This is both for zoological and theological reasons. Firstly, because their digestive system is rather complex and they do not strictly chew cud (ruminate), nor do they coprphage like rabbits. An explanation for the chewing motions is given under Characteristics, but I'm not sure I subscribe to it - from personal observations, when they're threatened they'd sooner try to bite your finger off, lol. From a religious perspective, it raises questions about the breadth of zoological available to the authors of the Bible (see the reference "The Camel, the Hare and the Hyrax" for more information on this) or, if you subscribe to divine authorship, what was God's intention by presenting this tantalising information. Therefore, I think the reference to cud chewing should remain. Arikk (talk) 19:37, 16 October 2009 (UTC)

But the article is mistaken, the fact that it was considered to chew the cud is not the reason for it being considered unkosher, the fact that it does not have split hooves makes it unkosher. Kuratowski's Ghost (talk) 03:41, 17 October 2009 (UTC)
You're quite right; the original wording was incorrect. Arikk (talk) 13:32, 18 October 2009 (UTC)


Jeremiahmccarver (talk) 20:01, 15 February 2013 (UTC)I changed the word "kosher" to "unclean." I realize that such may be a matter of semantics, but it is always safe to stick with the terminology of the source being quoted. Readers can go to the passage cited (Lev. 11) and read for themselves what constitutes "clean" or "unclean" with regard to Hebrew classifications of animals.Jeremiahmccarver (talk) 20:01, 15 February 2013 (UTC)

Common names[edit]

I just reverted an insertion that stated that the hyrax is also known as the "mountain otter". There are many weird and wonderful potential names for these animals, it is hard to believe that many of them (any of them) are in common use. This one doesn't appear anywhere on Google, for instance. Please try to source claims like these. Arikk (talk) 04:40, 12 November 2009 (UTC)

For information on how to cite sources, go to WP:CITE Arikk (talk) 11:17, 13 November 2009 (UTC)


Dental Formula[edit]

Seems really out of place in the text, is there any way to put it in the infobox? NineNineTwoThreeSix (talk) 17:41, 4 March 2010 (UTC)

Historical account - old testament[edit]

In the section Historical account I read the following sentences that I believe make claims with unwarranted certainty:

There are references to hyraxes in the Old Testament[5] particularly in Leviticus 11,
where they are described correctly as lacking a split hoof and therefore being not kosher. 

What does the word "correctly" have to do there? All we know is that the biblical text wrote that this animal has undivided hoofs. Animals with divided hoofs are throughout the text normally associated with Artiodactyls. So for all we know the writers of the bible made some taxonomic blunders that we cannot tell.

It also details that the hyrax chews its cud. However, this observation is due to the habit
of the hyrax chewing without having ingested anything, resembling the chewing of cud
(the hyraxes studied by the Hebrews may have been in captivity).[1]

How do we know that this observation is due just that? All we know is that is described as "chewing the cud", which throughout the biblical text is normally related to rumination. It should at least state that this might be due to this fact. But for all we know, the writers of the biblical texts could also just be mistaken.

Would anyone mind that I change this section to be more accurate? Fedor (talk) 16:47, 15 February 2011 (UTC)

I agree that this passage is poorly written, and of course any improvement is most welcome. However, some points are worth remembering. Firstly, this subject has had some minor edit warring in the past, mostly from people who thought that any biblical references had no objective merit. I feel that since this is one of the few cultural references to hyraxes - possibly the only one - it deserves prominent position. For most people who don't live with hyraxes, it's about the only place they'll ever hear of them. Secondly, the question of the "rumination" chewing is of interest in itself. It's dealt with in slightly more detail on the Rock hyrax page, including a video of this behaviour. I didn't quite understand your point about Artiodactyls and biblical taxonomic mistakes... Oh, the reason the text uses the word "correctly" is to counterpoint the "incorrect" classification of hyraxes as ruminants, but yes, it's not made clear. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Arikk (talkcontribs) 19:02, 15 February 2011 (UTC)
Oops, I'd forgotten that I'd also put the video on this page... silly me 8-) Arikk (talk) 19:13, 15 February 2011 (UTC)

Jeremiahmccarver (talk) 20:13, 15 February 2013 (UTC)The terminology used in the Bible that is translated "hoof" may be different in some ways than how we use it today, but, at any rate, the hyrax does not split the hoof in the same way that a pig does (vs. 7). It is NOT a neutral point of view to say that the text is "incorrect" on that point or on the point about the hyrax chewing the cud. The article should simply say that some people (scholars, scientists-cite sources) point to this part of the Hebrew text as a mistake and evidence that the text is not inspired by a supernatural, supreme being, but that apologists for the Hebrew Bible disagree for such and such reasons. To say that the text is "incorrect," as it said before I made a minor change that truly DOES represent a neutral point of view, is to bias the article in favor of one side. This article does not serve the purpose of laying out all the arguments on both sides in great detail, nor is it the appropriate place for a conclusion to be drawn over the controversy that favors one side or the other. Readers can investigate the matter further and reach their own conclusions after researching both positions. In a venue serving the purpose that Wikipedia serves as an online encyclopedia, it is always better to simply point out the undisputed facts on a controversial matter including the summarized arguments on both sides and let the readers decide for themselves what to believe or whether or not to research the matter further. Either way, it is anything BUT neutral to use the word "incorrectly" in this case to describe the Hebrew scriptural reference to the hyrax. I believe in objectivity as well. I believe that my edit is more objective than what was there before, but someone might have an idea as to how to sound even more objective and to write this portion even better. That's fine, but I agree it should provide the necessary information and be neutral in tone and objective in purpose. Jeremiahmccarver (talk) 20:13, 15 February 2013 (UTC)

Firstly, thank you for taking this to the Talk page, rather than warring! :-) I understand your reaction to the word "incorrect". How about, "It also refers to the hyrax as 'chewing its cud', which is contrary to current scientific understanding of hyrax physiology. One theory [4] is that this claim is due to the habit of the hyrax chewing without having ingested anything"
As for the cloven hoof, I don't understand your comment. Hyrax feet aren't cloven - not by any interpretation of hoof or anything else. Not in the Bible and not today. You don't need a reference to the pig to see that. Arikk (talk) 05:22, 16 February 2013 (UTC)

Rumination[edit]

I reverted the changes made by User:Vanadyl. It is important to distinguish between Rumination and "chewing the cud". An animal is determined to be a ruminant or not by the structure of its digestive system, not by its chewing behaviour (I added a reference to the status of the hyrax too). To Vanadyl and other religious readers: please do not get offended by the fact that the hyrax is not a ruminant - the Bible does not claim that it is, just that it "מעלה גרה", i.e. regurgitates, and we have addressed this issue with the video of the chewing behaviour. Arikk (talk) 04:55, 19 July 2011 (UTC)

Chews Its Cud[edit]

The argument is not if the hyrax is a ruminant, but if it chews its cud. The edit I made, which I respectfully ask you to not delete again, is that the hyrax chews its cud.

I, and others that have observed the hyrax chewing its cud, are speaking truthfully, and provide multiple citations. You are the one who is religious, holding to a belief that is false with no proof. I am going to edit the hyrax page again. The hyrax chews its cud. Please do not delete my work again unless you can prove otherwise. Peace be with you. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Vanadyl (talkcontribs) 20:32, 19 July 2011 (UTC)

I have integrated your sources with those of the original page in order to end what threatens to be an edit war. Both positions are now represented. If you make changes to the page, do so constructively (by addition) and not by the deletion of existing well sourced material. Deletion of valid sources to support a POV may constitute Tendentious editing. If you feel that the page as it now stands is "wrong", please discuss it here before making widespread deletions. Arikk (talk) 05:19, 20 July 2011 (UTC)
Thank you, Arikk, for compromising. I feel you are trying to be fair.  :-) I have since found more sources stating that the hyrax chews its cud. I hope to add these additional observations in the near future with photos and/or videos to be sure that everyone is convinced that the hyrax does, in fact, chew its cud. Peace to you. Vanadyl (talk) 03:48, 22 July 2011 (UTC)
Have actually more relevant sources for the claim that hyraxes ruminate been forthcoming, or is there just the same evidence as before? Another question: Has anybody actually presented scientific sources that make a zoological difference between ruminating and chewing the cud? If not, then I'd say making a difference in the formulations is irrelevant as far as the scientific part of this article is concerned. Larkusix (talk) 16:33, 16 November 2011 (UTC)
I'd like to restore the original formulation. Larkusix (talk) 09:44, 9 December 2011 (UTC)
You'll have to remind me what the "original formulation" was... isn't that what we have now? It's getting too confusing. I'm not sure what you mean by your comment Larkusix; we're not arguing whether a hyrax "ruminates" or "chews the cud" - those two things are identical! Ruminating and/or chewing cud are both behaviours and so whether an animal ruminates or not depends on what it does, rather than what it is. However, ruminant is a taxonomic, physiological and anatomical classification, i.e. it depends on what an animal is and not what it does. I quote for those who don't want to click on the ruminant link: A ruminant is a mammal of the order Artiodactyla that digests plant-based food by initially softening it within the animal's first compartment of the stomach, principally through bacterial actions, then regurgitating the semi-digested mass, now known as cud, and chewing it again. So while we may argue whether or not a hyrax chews cud, it is NOT a ruminant (it isn't a member of Artiodactyla, for one thing). I don't know if I've made things clearer or more confusing. What was the question again? Arikk (talk) 12:16, 9 December 2011 (UTC)
I'm sorry for the delay. I have changed the article to an older version, that pointed out clerly that Hyraxes don't "chew the cud" (Formulation from 19. 07. 2011, 05:00) , that's the version (save for a reference that I retained) before Vanadyl came along. That's the version that I meant. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Larkusix (talkcontribs) 16:40, 16 December 2011 (UTC)
I think that a ruminant (lower case) is in fact any animal that chews cud. Your overall point, that there is a distinction between animals that ruminate and animals in the group Ruminantia, is valid, but as far as I know the word ruminant generally refers to the former, not the latter, group. ErikHaugen (talk | contribs) 18:37, 9 December 2011 (UTC)
With that said, as far as I know, no animals outside of Artiodactyla chew cud/are ruminants? Hyraxes have chambered stomachs but don't chew cud in the same manner so we don't say they "ruminate", afaik. There are a lot of sources that say this. Larkusix, I'm no hyrax expert, but I think you have an uphill battle here to provide quality sources to tip the balance in favor of changing the article to say that hyraxes ruminate. I think the writer of Leviticus was speaking much more generally here, and we mean something much more precise by the term ruminate. It's like how in that same section it says that camels don't have cloven hoofs, when in fact they do have cloven hooves. Except that you could argue that they aren't really hooves. Good thing there's a clarification there, or I for one would have thought it was ok to eat camels. ErikHaugen (talk | contribs) 18:58, 9 December 2011 (UTC)

Ah, what a long discussion. Anyway, I've had another look through the literature and there's nothing definite about cud chewing in anything published in the last 50 years. True, true, they appear to chew - as you can see in the video I uploaded - but no one appears to have checked whether it's actually associated with regurgitation. This is what the current text says: Although not ruminants, hyraxes have complex, multichambered stomachs that allow symbiotic bacteria to break down tough plant materials, and their overall ability to digest fibre is similar to that of the ungulates.[1] Their mandibular motions (see video) have often been described as chewing cud[2], although there is no evidence this behaviour is associated with the regurgitation of stomach contents for the extraction of nutrients from coarse, low-grade leaves and grasses,[3] as in the even-toed ungulates and some of the macropods. and I think it should remain that way. If anyone has some concrete changes to suggest (based on reputable sources), please do. Arikk (talk) 20:36, 9 December 2011 (UTC)

I think all that is a perfectly good and neutral statement of current knowledge, but the next sentence seems a bit myopic: This behaviour is generally given as the explanation for the passage in Leviticus 11:5 that hyraxes chew the cud. It assumes the reader is already familiar with the controversy (they may well be, but it shouldn't be assumed). It begs the question, why is an explanation of Leviticus required? As a more neutral way to put it, I suggest, This behaviour is apparently referred to in a passage in the Hebrew Bible (Leviticus 11:5) that hyraxes chew the cud.--Brambleshire (talk) 16:17, 10 December 2011 (UTC)
Done. But don't be afraid to change the page yourself, it doesn't belong to me... Arikk (talk) 07:08, 11 December 2011 (UTC)
Thanks. And yes, I know, but I do hesitate to change others' words when it is purely a matter of style.--Brambleshire (talk) 17:20, 11 December 2011 (UTC)

Evolution: date of oldest hyracoid fossil[edit]

I have replaced the 40 million year date which was unsourced in this article with a very recent source for 37 million years ago. From what I have read, it seems at one time fossil sites in Egypt were dated to over 40 million years old, and this is what was published in the Encyclopedia of Mammals in 1984, and repeated verbatim in a later edition of the same work by a different publisher, though the latest (2009) edition of the same work by yet another publisher (Princeton University Press) omitted any statement about fossils or the date of hyrax evolution. Analysis presented in 2006 indicated those strata were several million years younger than previously thought, a conclusion arrived at by comparing strata at several sites in the region. Finally, I found the Wikipedia article on Dimaitherium via 2010 in paleontology.

Sources:

--Brambleshire (talk) 16:01, 24 September 2011 (UTC)

Historical accounts (2)[edit]

The words "rabbit", "hare", or "coney" appear as terms for the hyrax in some English translations of the Bible. Early English translators had no knowledge of the hyrax (Hebrew שָּׁפָן shaphan[9]), and therefore no name for them.

Not only in English but also in the Greek and the Latin translation they are talking about rabbits and hares. How can we be so sure that the Hebrew authors were really referring to hyraxes?80.141.147.203 (talk) 20:44, 9 April 2012 (UTC)

Rabbits were unknown in the Levant at that time. Hares are specifically referred to as "arnevet" (ארנבת). Some older authorities claim that shafan refers to a different animal, but that has pretty much been discredited: see reference 4 http://www.zootorah.com/hyrax/hyrax.pdf Arikk (talk) 11:44, 10 April 2012 (UTC)

Early mammalian characteristics[edit]

Hyraxes retain a number of early mammalian characteristics; in particular, they have poorly developed internal temperature regulation (which they deal with by huddling together for warmth, and by basking in the sun like reptiles).

Hyraxes are not basal eutherians, much less basal mammals. Therefore, the ascribed reptilian traits must be due to secondary loss.80.141.163.75 (talk) 14:43, 26 June 2012 (UTC)