Bos grunniensThe Yak


Domain: Eukarya
Members of this domain have cells that contain a nucleus and membrane bound organelles. Members of domains Bacteria and Archaea are prokaryotes, without nuclei.

Kingdom: Animalia
Organisms in this kingdom are multicellular, lack cell walls, heterotrophic, and reproductive cells have a single reproductive flagella at the base.

Phylum: Chordata
Members of this phylum have 3 types of tissue, ectoderm, endoderm, and mesoderm. They also have a fluid-filled cavity called a coelom, bilateral symmetry, a notochord, dorsal nerve cord, thyroid gland, postanal tail, and pharyngeal glands.

Class: Mammalia
Members of this class have bodies covered in hair, the presence of glands, are warm-blooded or homeothermic, and generally have live births with a few exceptions, but the yak is not one of those exceptions.

Order: Artiodactyla
Mammals in this order are divided partly the morphological feature of hooves. Animals with hooves are call ungulates. The animals in the order Artiodactyla are even-toed ungulates, meaning that they stand on an even number of toes rather than an odd number. A horse is an example of an odd-toed ungulate and so is not in this order. They also have pulley-like structures on a part of their ankle joint, which allows for more flexibility. Other members of Artiodactyla include the pig and the camel.

Family: Bovidae
This family consists of all ruminants, animals that have a rumen. You can read more about the rumen on the Adaptation page. They lack upper incisors and canines. These animals also have unbranched horns, they also have a space between the two layers that make up these horns, so that these animals are called "hollow-horned ungulates."

Genus: Bos
This genus contains the wild and domesticated cattle and oxen. There are a total of 5 species in the genus Bos. All five of these species have changed over time due to domestication, and so the division into 5 species is based on morphological qualities.

Species: Bos grunniens
Commonly known as the domesticated yak. The genus "Bos" means "an ox" and the species part, "grunniens" means "I grunt" and comes from the habit of yaks to grunt, most often in their search for a mate. So Bos grunniens and ox that grunts. The common name, yak may come from the Tibetan word "g-yag" which means male yak, or it may come from the Russian word "як" which means and sounds like "yak".

Find out where the Yak makes its home on the Habitat page, or go back to the Home page.