The musk ox is prehistoric mammal one of the few that survived the last ice age. They moved across North America as far as Greenland. Looks can be deceiving although they look similar to a ox, Musk Ox are actually much closer related to goats and sheep. They were given the genus name Ovibos which means sheep-ox.
Musk Oxen are horned, stand about 4ft at the shoulder with males haveing a longer length than females. They weigh in between 400-600 pds and live for between 12-20 years.
Both sexes are horned. Muskoxen stand about 4 ft at the shoulder with females being between 4-6 ft long and males being 6-8 ft long. They weigh in at about 400-600 pds. Muskoxen live about 12-20 yrs. During rutting season the bulls use those impressive horns to show their dominance. There is a definite pecking order with these animals based on sex and age. Older and more dominate animals will get the prime grazing areas. A subordinate bull can change his status by charging the dominate bull.
In an interesting twist the bulls of a herd are in charge during mating season but during gestation the cows are in charge and decide how far to travel and when to stop. When calving the cows stay within the group for protection. Calves are quickly able to keep up with the herd. If winters are severe cow’s may not even go into estrus. I think this is an interesting survival technique.
When the herd is threatened bulls and cows will form a circle around the calves in a defensive posture. The bulls usually provide the first line of defense. However, in another interesting twist it seems the bulls decide what defensive measures to take during rutting season and the cows decide the rest of the time.
Muskoxen are natives to arctic areas. in the late 19 , early 20th century they were wiped out in Alaska by climate changes and/or over hunting. These amazing survivors have been introduced back into the ecosystem in Alaska. Information found on wikipedia.
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