Snow sheep
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Artiodactyla
Family: Bovidae
Subfamily: Caprinae
Tribe: Caprini
Genus: Ovis
O. nivicola
Binomial name
Ovis nivicola

The snow sheep (Ovis nivicola), or Siberian bighorn sheep, is a species of sheep from the mountainous areas in the northeast of Siberia. One subspecies, the Putorana snow sheep (Ovis nivicola borealis), lives isolated from the other forms in the Putoran Mountains.


Taxonomy and genetics

Ovis nivicola appeared about 600,000 years ago. These wild sheep crossed the Bering land bridge from Siberia into Alaska during the Pleistocene (about 750,000 years ago); the sheep diverged into the three extant species. The snow sheep is most closely related to the North American bighorn sheep and Dall sheep.

Currently the mitochondrial genome of Ovis nivicola has been completely mapped out.[2]


  1. ^ a b Harris, R.B.; Tsytsulina. K. (2008). "Ovis nivicola". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2008: e.T15740A5076357. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2008.RLTS.T15740A5076357.en. Retrieved 19 November 2021.
  2. ^ Dotsev, A. V. et al. "The First Complete Mitochondrial Genomes Of Snow Sheep (Ovis Nivicola) And Thinhorn Sheep (Ovis Dalli) And Their Phylogenetic Implications For The Genus Ovis". Mitochondrial DNA Part B, vol 4, no. 1, 2019, pp. 1332-1333. Informa UK Limited,