Researchers discovered in 2014 that global warming and climate change are causing these goats to shrink in size

The genus Rupicapra comprises two species of mountain-dwelling ungulates known as chamois. This genus belongs to the family Bovidae, which includes other well-known ruminants like goats, sheep, and cattle. The members of Rupicapra are distinguished by their remarkable adaptations to life in high-altitude environments, showcasing traits that allow them to thrive in steep and rugged terrains where few other mammals can survive.

This genus includes two primary species: the Alpine chamois (Rupicapra rupicapra) and the Pyrenean chamois (Rupicapra pyrenaica). The Alpine chamois is widespread across the mountain ranges of Europe, including the Alps, the Carpathians, the Tatra Mountains, and parts of the Balkans. In contrast, the Pyrenean chamois is found mainly in the Pyrenees mountains and some areas of the Cantabrian Mountains and the Apennines. These species are adapted to different climatic and ecological conditions within their respective ranges, demonstrating the genus’s versatility and adaptability.

Members of the genus Rupicapra possess several key physical characteristics that are not just unique, but also highly functional, enabling their survival in harsh mountainous environments. Their robust and compact body, designed for climbing and jumping across rocky slopes, is a testament to their adaptability. Their strong and muscular limbs, ending in hooves that are highly specialized for gripping slippery surfaces, showcase their resourcefulness. The backward-curving horns, present in both males and females, serve various purposes, including defense against predators and intraspecific competition during the mating season. These functional adaptations are a source of respect and admiration for biologists and ecologists studying this genus.