This report compares the astragalus of the endemic deer Hoplitomeryx (Gargano, Miocene) with that of a number of recent and fossil ruminants. It appears that the profile of the dorsal border deviates from the expected situation. In addition, in many astragali the axis through the cranial and the caudal half meet each other at an angle, yielding an oblique appearance. This situation resembles that of Myotragus balearicus, another endemic ruminant from the Mediterranean. A probable explanation is the decrease of muscular power needed, and the increase of stability, in relation to the convergence of the upper legs, due to a larger abdomen. Hoplitomeryx certainly was neither a runner nor a jumper.

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Natuurhistorisch Museum Rotterdam

A.A.E. van der Geer. (1999). On the astragalus of the Miocene endemic deer Hoplitomeryx from the Gargano (Italy). Deinsea, 7(1), 325–336.