Greenland Muskox - Asia | Online Record Book Preview
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Greenland Muskox - Species Detail
Buey amizclero (Sp), Moschusochse (G), Bouef musqué (F). "Muskox" refers to the strong, musky odor emitted from the male's facial glands during the rut.
The muskox, or a close relative, occurred in northern Europe and Asia during the late Pleistocene but died out for unknown reasons, possibly surviving in Siberia until about 2,000 years ago. It is believed to have immigrated to North America over the Bering land bridge. and at the height of the Glacial Age was found as far south as New Jersey. Not discovered by Westerners until 1869.
DESCRIPTION Shoulder height about 4-5 feet (1.2 to 1.5 m). Weight 600-750 pounds (270-340 kg), sometimes more. Females are about two-thirds the size of males.
The muskox is relatively unchanged from prehistoric times. The long, shaggy coat-the longest body hair of any animal-equips it superbly for life in the arctic. The dense inner coat of fine wool (prized by indigenous people for knitting) protects it from cold and frost, while the outer coat, reaching past the knees, sheds snow and rain. The build is stocky, with slightly humped shoulders, short neck and legs, and very large hoofs. The head is carried low. Color is dark brown, with pale saddle and legs. The male has massive horns that form bosses where they almost meet on top of the head, then curve down and around to sharp points. The female is similar, but has much less massive horns.
HABITAT Arctic tundra. Prefers moist habitats in the summer. In winter, stays on hilltops or slopes where winds minimize the snow depth.
DISTRIBUTION Introduced from Banks Island in Canada to the Taimyr Peninsula in Siberia in 1973. Further introductions were made in 1975 from Nunivak Island in Alaska to the Taimyr Peninsula and also to Wrangel Island in Siberia. All introductions in Asia (and in Europe) were of Greenland muskox (O. m. wardi), those from Nunivak having been transplanted from eastern Greenland.
Outside of Asia, natural populations occur in Canada and Greenland. Introduced populations are found in parts of Alaska, Canada, Greenland and Norway.
The Greenland Muskox currently has 3 Entries listed in the SCI Record Book!
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