Saturday, October 31, 2015

Horned Animals - Markhor

First things first: you will not find the noble moose on this list. It’s not because the moose isn’t a majestic animal with equally majestic head protuberances; it’s because the moose has antlers, not horns. Antlers are made of dead bone, and are shed and regrown again every year. Horns, on the other hand, are live extensions of the skull, and stay with the animal for life. Deer and relatives of the deer, like the moose, have antlers; goats and antelope and relatives of the cow have horns. We are aware that this seems like an unnecessarily strict and nerdy distinction, and that the difference between antlers and horns may not make for good party conversation at every party. Our thought is, you should only go to parties where the difference between antlers and horns makes for good party conversation.

Now onto the horns! Oh, man, these are good horns.

The markhor (above), according to ARKive, lives in the mountains of central Asia, adeptly climbing craggy rocks with the grace of North America’s own mountain goat. It’s extremely endangered, with an estimated 2,500 left in the wild in part due to hunting for its absurdly spectacular corkscrewed horns, which can grow to more than five feet long.

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