The nucleotide sequence of the complete mitochondrial cytochrome b gene has been determined and compared for 51 species of the family Bovidae and 10 potential pecoran and tragulid outgroups. A detailed saturation analysis at each codon position relative to the maximum parsimony procedure indicates that all transitions on third codon positions do not accumulate in a similar fashion: C-T are more saturated than A-G substitutions. The same trend is observed for second positions but not for first positions where A-G and C-T transitions exhibit roughly the same levels of saturation. Maximum parsimony reconstructions were weighted according to these observations. Maximum parsimony, maximum likelihood, and distance phylogenetic reconstructions all depict a major split within Bovidae. The subfamily Bovinae includes four multifurcating tribes and subtribes: Boselaphini, Tragelaphini, cattle-Bovini (Bos and Bison), and buffalo-Bovini (Bubalus and Syncerus). Its sister group is the subfamily Antilopinae, i.e., all non-Bovinae taxa, represented by seven lineages: Antilopini (including Saiga), Caprini sensu lato (i.e., Caprinae including Pantholops), Hippotragini, Alcelaphini, Reduncini (including Pelea), Aepyceros possibly linked to Neotragus, and Cephalophini possibly linked to Oreotragus (the suni and the klipspringer being members of a polyphyletic Neotragini). These various tribes and major lineages were produced
by two noteworthy explosive radiations, which occurred simultaneously between 12.0 and 15.3 MY (Middle Miocene) in the subfamilies Bovinae and Antilopinae.