Chinese sources suggest early knowledge of the ‘unknown’ ungulate (Pseudonovibos spiralis) from Vietnam and Cambodia



A survey of historical Chinese encyclopaedias, compilations and textbooks from the Ming and early Qing dynasties (14th to 18th centuries) was carried out for information that might fit an animal from Vietnam and Cambodia which is known only from its distinctive horns. These horns have a raised, rib-like pattern of rings round much of their length, and a backward curl of the horn's tip. One illustrated text found in the San Cai Tu Hui, a compilation of knowledge by Wang Chi and his son Wang Si Yi (1607), seems to bear a close resemblance to the information which has recently been gathered during field trips in Cambodia and Vietnam. The authors conclude that additional information on endemic animals in the region may be found in the writings of that part of the world.