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Field Research

"Most of the world's mammals were described in Darwin's time. But I can go somewhere today and see things that no one else has seen before or identified, doing all kinds of bizarre things." 

—Dr. Brian Brown, Entomology Curator, pictured here in Argentina, studying bee-killing flies who attack their hosts on palm flowers.

Why are Polychaete Collections Important?

Our understanding of how the oceans operate and affect our very existence is dependent upon understanding the diversity of life in all ocean habitats. Learn more >

The Making of a Diorama

The Habitat Views video considers ways of looking at dioramas today, and documents the creation of several new displays. Take a look over on our  YouTube channel >

Field Trips & Travel

Galapagos: May 2010

Discover the Galapagos Islands, Darwin's living laboratory, on this Fellows adventure. Learn more >


Arabian oryx

Oryx leucoryx (Pallas, 1777)

Arabian oryx diorama in the African Mammal Hall


 Rub el Khali, southern Saudi Arabia


 Maurice A. Machris and the Tom and Valley Knudsen Foundation

Background artist:

 Robert Russell Reid

Also present:

 sand cat (Felis margarita)

The legend of the unicorn may stem in part from the Arabian oryx which, when seen in profile, often appears to have only a single horn . The bible uses the Hebrew word re’em for Arabian oryx. In the King James’ version of the bible the word re’em is translated as ‘unicorn’.

Herds of Arabian oryx number between two and fifteen animals and may range up to 3000 square kilometers annually.

Although they are usually regarded as the same species, some authorities recognize the slightly darker coated North African variant as the scimitar-horned oryx (Oryx dammah).

Biological Information

Range map for the arabian oryx


Formerly present throughout the Sahel. Hunted to extinction in the wild but re-introduced into Tunisia, Oman, Israel, Jordan and Saudi Arabia.


Arid regions




Grasses, buds, and leaves

Further information about this species may be found on the Animal Diversity Web page for Arabian oryx.