Featured Collection: Formosan Muntjac

The Formosan Muntjac (scientific name: Muntiacus reevesi micrurus) weighs approximately 10 kg when fully grown and resembles a medium- to large-sized brown dog. It is generally believed that when the glacial age ended around 10,000 years ago or earlier, the Formosan Muntjac evolved independently into an endemic species of Taiwan after the land bridge connecting Eurasia and Taiwan had become submerged, separating it from its now-ancestors, the Reeves's Muntjac, who could be found in the south of China. 

The anatomy shows that the modern muntjac is not much different from the muntjac fossil of 4 million years ago. It is often used to speculate that the ancestor of the Cervidae family may be a species that used its upper canine teeth as a weapon, while the muntjac is the intermediary species before the deer, who attacks with antlers. During fights, it is often observed that male muntjacs bite each other, unlike sika deer or other types of deer that collide into or prick on each other with antlers. The Formosan Muntjac can be found all over Taiwan, including Green Island, with a vertical distribution range from sea level to an elevation of about 3,000 meters, but are mostly found in mountains between 500 to 2,000 meters. People who frequently go trekking may not be lucky enough to spot the muntjac, but they are likely to have heard its abrupt, single-toned, loud, and dog-like barking, and unprepared hikers are usually startled, particularly when the barking is heard from nearby.
The Formosan Muntjac prefers to live in large, continuous tracts of broad-leafed forests. It is even more ideal if the forest has some gaps in the dense canopy cover to allow sunlight to stream in. At such spots, the vegetation is usually thicker and can provide the muntjac with better food supply and shelter.   
Extended Reading List:
[*authors' names and some book titles are literal translations for reference only.]
Zhang, Jing-ru, et al. (1991). Taiwan Endemic Species. Taipei: Taiwan Panorama.
Wang, Zhi-hong. (2003). Our Name is Taiwan: Taiwan Endemic Species Portrait. Taipei: Rhythms Monthly.
Qi, Wei-lian. (2003). Mammals in Taiwan: A Practical Illustrated Handbook for Field Exploration. Taipei: Big Tree Culture.
Lai, Yu-min. (2000). Vanishing Dancers: An Album of Taiwan's Precious and Endemic Animals. Taipei: Council of Agriculture, Executive Yuan.