Genus: Pseudoryx Dung et al. 1993
Species: Saola Pseudoryx nghetinhensis Dung et al. 1993
Names in other languages: French: Saola; German: Vu Quang-Wildrindes; Spanish: Saola; Italian: Saola; Laotian: Yang
Other common names: Vu Quang Ox, Spindlehorn
The saola became known to science only in 1992, and was one of the most spectacular and surprising zoological discoveries of the twentieth century.
The species is in a highly distinctive monotypic genus, with morphological and genetic characteristics that place it as a primitive member of the family Bovidae (Vu Van Dung et al. 1993; Schaller & Rabinowitz 1995; Robichaud 1998).
The original scientific description of the species by Vu Van Dung et al. (1993) used analysis of the mitochondrial cytochrome b gene to propose that saola was allied to the subfamily Bovinae (cattle and spiral-horned antelopes), with a provisional placement among the tribe Boselaphini. Thomas (1994) analysed morphological features of the cranium and placed the species as a sister taxon to the subfamily Caprinae (goats, sheep and their allies), but this postulation was not supported by subsequent studies. Schaller & Rabinowitz (1995), for example, presented information on morphological characters that suggested affinity with the tribe Bovini (cattle) of the Bovinae. Robichaud (1998) also supported placement in the Bovinae, based on morphological and behavioural characteristics of a captive animal. Hassanin & Douzery (1999) concluded the species was most probably a sister taxon of the cattle and bison, excluding water buffaloes Bubalus and African Buffalo Syncerus caffer, based on nuclear and mitochondrial genes from four loci; Gatesy & Arctander (2000) analysed seven gene loci, placing saola in the subfamily Bovinae and probably the tribe Bovini. Consequently, the present consensus is that the saola is a member of the subfamily Bovinae, likely in the tribe Bovini, but possibly meriting its own monogeneric tribe.