/geuh yahl"/, n., pl. gayals, (esp. collectively) gayal.
an ox, Bibos frontalis, of southeastern Asia and the Malay Archipelago, sometimes considered to be a domesticated breed of the gaur. Also called mithan.
[1780-90; < Bengali gayal]

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also called  mithan 

      a subspecies of the gaur and the largest of the wild oxen (ox), subfamily Bovinae (family Bovidae (bovid)), which is kept and utilized by the hill tribes of Assam and Myanmar (Burma).

      Smaller than the gaur and with shorter legs, the gayal stands 140–160 cm (55–63 inches) at the shoulder. Bulls weigh up to a ton, 20–25 percent more than cows. The gayal lacks the gaur's massive shoulder hump, and its skull is shorter, wider, and flatter; the horns of both sexes protrude from the sides of the head and are thicker, but shorter, than those of the gaur. A double dewlap at the chin and throat is well developed. Bulls are black and females brown-black; both have white stockings. Some gayals are piebald, and even white, as the result of hybridizing with cattle.

      Gayals are not tame enough to be herded like cattle. However, they live and forage in the vicinity of settlements, to which they come close to spend the night. They can be lured right up to a village with salt, an important element in the diet of all cattle. Gaurs are water-dependent grazers and browsers with a preference for green grass and other monocots (monocotyledon) that grow in forest clearings, which may explain the origins of the gayal. The clearings created by the hill tribes for growing crops provide food for gaurs also; not only the crops but also the grass and forbs that colonize abandoned fields are undefended. When these factors are combined with the proximity of settlements to water and the protection from predators (primarily tigers (tiger)) gained by sleeping close to people who tolerate, and even promote, the arrangement, all the conditions for self-domestication are met. The final stage of self-domestication is reached when animals have so lost their fear of humans that they can be used for food and trade. Such is the fate of the gayal.

      The social organization and mating system of the gayal remains unchanged from its wild progenitors. The mating call of the bull gayal sounds like a gaur and unlike any other bovine; it is loud and as resonant as the base notes of an organ. Further proof of the relationship of the two animals is the mating of gayal cows with gaur bulls, which is promoted by gayal keepers to improve the breed.

Richard Estes

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • gayal — gayal …   Dictionnaire des rimes

  • gayal — [ gajal ] n. m. • 1861; mot hindi ♦ Bœuf domestiqué d Asie du Sud Est, ressemblant au gaur. Des gayals. ● gayal, gayals nom masculin (hindi gayal) Bœuf semi domestique de l Asie du Sud Est, très proche du gaur, possédant une bosse et des cornes… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Gayal — Gay al, n. [Native name.] (Zo[ o]l.) A Southern Asiatic species of wild cattle ({Bibos frontalis}). [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Gayal — (Bos frontalis), Art der Gattung Ochs, dem Hausochsen ähnlich, doch sind die Hörner nach hinten platt, Schwanz kurz, Haare kurz, schwarz, auf der Stirn u. eine Rückenlinie grau od. gelb, an den Beinen weiß; lebt wild auf den Gebirgen von Arracan… …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Gayal — Gayal, s. Rind …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • Gayal — Gayal, s. Rinder …   Kleines Konversations-Lexikon

  • Gayal —   [Hindi] der, s/ s, domestizierte Form des Gaur.   * * * Ga|yal [ ga:jal, ga ja:l], der; s, s [Hindi]: vom Gaur abstammendes hinterindisches Wildrind …   Universal-Lexikon

  • Gayal — The term in India for the fibre of the Agave Vivipara, used for cords and coarse matting …   Dictionary of the English textile terms

  • Gayal — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Gaur. Gaur et Gayal …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Gayal — (GA yal) Variations: Geyal, UT A vampiric spirit from India, the gayal, whose name means simple, is created when a man dies and has no sons to properly perform his funeral rites or when someone dies with a great wrong committed against them. When …   Encyclopedia of vampire mythology

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