Gorals and serows belong to the subfamily Rupicaprinae which is an early mountain-living offshoot of the Bovidae; it also includes the chamois, takin, and the so-called Rocky Mountain goat of America. The animals are commonly referred to as "goat-antelopes" in order to express the intermediate position which they apparently hold between the goats and antelopes. They are also sometimes called the Rupicaprine antelopes from the scientific name of the chamois ( Rupicapra).

The horns of all members of the group are finely ridged, subcylindrical and are present in both sexes, being almost as long in the female as in the male. Although no one would suspect that the gorals are more closely related to the takins than to the serows, which they resemble superficially, such seems to be the case, but the cranial differences between the two genera are to a certain extent bridged over by the skull of the small Japanese serow (Capricornulus crispus ). This species is most interesting because of its intermediate position. In size it is larger than a goral but smaller than a serow; its long coat and its horns resemble those of a goral but it has the face gland and short tail of a serow. It is found in Japan, Manchuria and southern Siberia.

The principal external difference between the gorals and serows, besides that of size, is in the fact that the serows have a short tail and a well developed face gland, which opens in front of the eyes by a small orifice, while the gorals have a long tail and no such gland.

In the cylindrical form of their horns the serows are similar to some of the antelopes but in their clumsy build, heavy limbs and stout hoofs as well as in habits they resemble goats. The serow has a long, melancholy-looking face and because of its enormous ears the Chinese in Fukien Province refer to it as the "wild donkey" but in Yuen-nan it is called "wild cow."

The specific relationships of the serows are by no means satisfactorily determined. Mr. Pocock, Superintendent of the London Zooelogical Society's Gardens, has recently devoted considerable study to the serows of British India and considers them all to be races of the single species Capricornis sumatrensis. With this opinion I am inclined to agree, although I have not yet had sufficient time in which to thoroughly study the subject in the light of our new material.

These animals differ most strikingly in external coloration, and fall into three groups all of which partake more or less of the characters of each other. Chinese serows usually have the lower legs rusty red, while in Indian races they are whitish, and black in the southern Burma and Malayan forms.

The serows which we killed upon the Snow Mountain can probably be referred to Capricornis sumatrensis milne-edwardsi, those of Fukien obtained by Mr. Caldwell represent the white-maned serow Capricornis sumatrensis argyrochaetes and one which I shot in May, 1917, near Teng-yueh, not far from the Burma frontier, is apparently an undescribed form.

Our specimens have brought out the fact that a remarkable individual variation exists in the color of the legs of these animals; this character was considered to be of diagnostic value, and probably is in some degree, but it is by no means as reliable as it was formerly supposed to be.

Two of the serows killed on the Snow Mountain have the lower legs rusty red, while in two others these parts are buff colored. The animals, all males of nearly the same age, were taken on the same mountain, and virtually at the same time. Their skulls exhibit no important differences and there is no reason to believe that they represent anything but an extreme individual variation.

The two specimens obtained by Mr. Caldwell at Yen-ping are even more surprising. The old female is coal black, but the young male is distinctly brownish-black with a chestnut stripe from the mane to the tail along the mid-dorsal line where the hairs of the back form a ridge. The horns of the female are nearly parallel for half their extent and approach each other at the tips; their surfaces are remarkably smooth. The horns of the young male diverge like a V from the skull and are very heavily ridged. The latter character is undoubtedly due to youth.

These serows are an excellent example of the necessity for collecting a large number of specimens from the same locality. Only by this means is it possible to learn how the species is affected by age, sex and individual variation and what are its really important characters. In the case of the gorals, our Expedition obtained at Hui-yao such a splendid series of all ages that we have an unequaled opportunity for intelligent study. Serows are entirely Asian and found in China, Japan, India, Sumatra and the Malay Peninsula.

On the Snow Mountain we found them living singly at altitudes of from 9,000 to 13,000 feet in dense spruce forests, among the cliffs. The animals seemed to be fond of sleeping under overhanging rocks, and we were constantly finding beds which gave evidence of very extensive use. Apparently serows seldom come out into the open, but feed on leaves and grass while in the thickest cover, so that it is almost impossible to kill them without the aid of dogs or beaters.

Sometimes a serow will lead the dogs for three or four miles, and eventually lose them or it may turn at bay and fight the pack after only a short chase; a large serow is almost certain to kill several of the hounds if in a favorable position with a rock wall at its back. The animal can use its strong curved horns with deadly effect for it is remarkably agile for a beast of its size.

In Fukien we hunted serows on the summit of a high mountain clothed with a dense jungle of dwarf bamboo. It was in quite different country from that which the animals inhabit in Yuen-nan for although the cover was exceedingly thick it was without such high cliffs and there were extensive grassy meadows. We did not see any serows in Fukien because of the ignorance of our beaters, although the trails were cut by fresh tracks. The natives said that in late September the animals could often be found in the forests of the lower mountain slopes when they came to browse upon the new grown mushrooms.

Mr. Caldwell purchased for us in the market the skin of a splendid female serow and a short time later obtained a young male. The latter was seen swimming across the river just below the city wall and was caught alive by the natives. The female weighed three hundred and ten pounds and the male two hundred and ninety pounds.

Serows are rare in captivity and are said to be rather dangerous pets unless tamed when very young. We are reproducing a photograph taken and kindly loaned by Mr. Herbert Lang, of one formerly living in the Berlin Zooelogical Garden; we saw a serow in the Zooelogical Park at Calcutta and one from Darjeeling is owned by the London Zooelogical Society.

Gorals are pretty little animals of the size of the chamois. The species which we killed on the Snow Mountain can probably be referred to Naemorhedus griseus, but I have not yet had an opportunity to study our specimens carefully. Unlike the serows these gorals have blackish brown tails which from the roots to the end of the hairs measure about 10 inches in length. The horns of both sexes are prominently ridged for the basal half of their length and perfectly smooth distally. The male horns are strongly recurved and are thick and round at the base but narrow rapidly to the tips; the female horns are straighter and more slender. The longest horns in the series which we received measured six inches in length and three and three-quarters inches in circumference at the base. Like the serows, gorals are confined to Asia and are found in northern India, Burma, and China, and northwards through Korea and southern Manchuria.

We hunted gorals with dogs on the Snow Mountain for in this particular region they could be killed in no other way. There was so much cover, even at altitudes of from 12,000 to 15,000 feet and the rocks were so precipitous, that a man might spend a month "still hunting" and never see a goral. They are vicious fighters, and often back up to a cliff where they can keep the dogs at a distance. One of our best hounds while hunting alone, brought a goral to bay and was found dead next day by the hunters with its side ripped open.

On the Snow Mountain we found the animals singly but at Hui-yao, not far from the Burma frontier, where we hunted another species in the spring, they were almost universally in herds of from six to seven or eight. It was at the latter place that we had our best opportunity to observe gorals and learn something of their habits. We were camping on the banks of a branch of the Shwelie River, which had cut a narrow gorge for itself; on one side this was seven or eight hundred feet deep. A herd of about fifty gorals had been living for many years on one of the mountain sides not far from the village, and although they were seen constantly the natives had no weapons with which to kill them; but with our high-power rifles it was possible to shoot across the river at distances of from two hundred to four hundred yards.

We could scan every inch of the hillside through our field glasses and watch the gorals as they moved about quite unconscious of our presence. At this place they were feeding almost exclusively upon the leaves of low bushes and the new grass which had sprung up where the slopes had been partly burned over. We found them browsing from daylight until about nine o'clock, and from four in the afternoon until dark. They would move slowly among the bushes, picking off the new leaves, and usually about the middle of the morning would choose a place where the sun beat in warmly upon the rocks, and go to sleep.

Strangely enough they did not lie down on their sides, as do many hoofed animals, but doubled their forelegs under them, stretched their necks and hind legs straight out, and rested on their bellies. It was a most uncomfortable looking attitude, and the first time I saw an animal resting thus I thought it had been wounded, but both Mr. Heller and myself saw them repeatedly at other times, and realized that this was their natural position when asleep.

When frightened, like our own mountain sheep or goats, they would run a short distance and stop to look back. This was usually their undoing, for they offered excellent targets as they stood silhouetted against the sky. They were very difficult to see when lying down among the rocks, but our native hunters, who had most extraordinary eyesight, often would discover them when it was almost impossible for me to find them even with the field glasses. We never could be sure that there were no gorals on a mountainside, for they were adepts at hiding, and made use of a bunch of grass or the smallest crevice in a rock to conceal themselves, and did it so completely that they seemed to have vanished from the earth.

Like all sheep and goats, they could climb about where it seemed impossible for any animal to move. I have seen a goral run down the face of a cliff which appeared to be almost perpendicular, and where the dogs dared not venture. As the animal landed on a projecting rock it would bounce off as though made of rubber, and leap eight or ten feet to a narrow ledge which did not seem large enough to support a rabbit.

The ability to travel down such precipitous cliffs is largely due to the animal's foot structure. Professor Henry Fairfield Osborn has investigated this matter in the mountain goat and as his remarks apply almost equally well to the goral, I cannot do better than quote them here:

    The horny part of the foot surrounds only the extreme front. Behind
    this crescentic horn is a shallow concavity which gives the horny hoof
    a chance to get its hold. Both the main digits and the dewclaws
    terminate in black, rubber-like, rounded and expanded soles, which are
    of great service in securing a firm footing on the shelving rocks and
    narrow ledges on which the animal travels with such ease. This sole,
    Smith states, softens in the spring of the year, when the snow is
    leaving the ground, a fresh layer of the integument taking its place.
    The rubber-like balls with which the dewclaws are provided are by no
    means useless; they project back below the horny part of the hoof, and
    Mr. Smith has actually observed the young captive goats supporting
    themselves solely on their dewclaws on the edge of a roof. It is
    probable that they are similarly used on the rocks and precipices,
    since on a very narrow ledge they would serve favorably to alter the
    center of gravity by enabling the limb to be extended somewhat farther
    forward. [Footnote: "Mountain Goat Hunting with the Camera," by Henry
    Fairfield Osborn. Reprinted from the tenth Annual Report of the New
    York Zooelogical Society
, 1906, pp. 13-14.]

There were certain trails leading over the hill slopes at Hui-yao which the gorals must have used continually, judging by the way in which these were worn. We also found much sign beneath overhanging rocks and on projecting ledges to indicate that these were definite resorts for numbers of the animals. Many which we saw were young or of varying ages running with the herds, and it was interesting to see how perfectly they had mastered the art of self-concealment even when hardly a year old. Although at Hui-yao almost all were on the east side of the river, they did not seem to be especially averse to water, and several times I watched wounded animals swim across the stream.

Gorals are splendid game animals, for the plucky little brutes inspire the sportsman with admiration, besides leading him over peaks which try his nerve to the utmost, and I number among the happiest hours of my life the wonderful hunts in Yuen-nan, far above the clouds, at the edge of the snow.