Musk oxen are the only in the world of modern representatives of the eponymous family.It belongs to the family of bovids animals.The distant ancestors of these creatures lived in the late Miocene epoch, inhabiting the highlands of modern Central Asia.Talk about this amazing animal, and learn more than musk ox eats, where it lives, it looks like and why it was called musk ox.
At the origins of life ...
muskox ancient ancestors existed in the Late Miocene.The favorite habitat at the time were the mountains, located on the territory of modern Central Asia.Of course, the paleontologists are not interested in what the musk ox eats in nature and in captivity, and the way he was able to relatively quickly spread to them completely unexplored territories.
All obscenely easy.About 3.5 million years ago the climate on our planet began to change: the cold came.Especially strongly they felt it was in the highlands.This forced the ancestors of modern musk oxen to come down from the Himalayas and across the modern breed of Siberia and northern Eurasia.This will be discussed in more detail later.
When it Illinois glaciation, these large creatures entered North America, while they crossed the Bering land bridge.Then they settled all over Greenland.The musk ox eats today and what to eat then?It is worth mentioning that in the Late Pleistocene began a sharp reduction in the number of these animals.Do you think this is due to lack of food?No!This is directly caused by global warming.Note that musk oxen, along with reindeer are the only mammals that live in the Arctic, which were able to survive during the Late Pleistocene.
So, now we are gradually getting to the modern life these horny beauties.Let's find out what the musk ox eats, how it looks and where dwells.
How do they look?
Their whole appearance was fully adapted to life in the harsh Arctic conditions.Today they can be found in the Arctic only in small quantities.These shaggy giants are completely covered with very long hair and thick rough character.The undercoat, on the contrary, soft and silky.It perfectly protects the animal from cold.It is thanks to him muskoxen do not freeze at night in the northern polar regions of our planet.
Musk oxen are huge and round hooves, designed for easy movement through the snow.At the back they have a hump-back of the neck, located on the shoulder and turns into a narrow back.Head - a massive and extended.On it are sharp and curved horns with large grounds.In male horns of course much larger and stronger than females.
Where do they live?
you like to know what to eat musk ox?Be patient, you will soon find out!So these animals are quite massive creatures.Their shoulder height ranges from 1.5 to 2 m!Where can inhabit such giants?As we have seen, they originally inhabited Central Asia, but then went to the west to the modern England and France, and to the east - to Siberia.
In Eurasia, now you will not see them, too, because there they have long been extinct.They exterminated almost entirely in America: the Inuit hunters and fur traders put his hand to it.More recently, the animals live in the Arctic, in large quantities, but now they are left there are very few.
Where else muskoxen live?
In 1936 they were brought to the island Nanivak, and in 1969 - Nelson Island, located in the Bering Sea and the nature reserve in northeastern Alaska.It was there in the ground and muskoxen live today: about 800 animals trample the land of Alaska, about 3,000 - live in the northeast of Greenland, and more than 14,000 - in East Greenland.In addition, 1500 animals live in Canada and about 200 - on Svalbard.
The musk ox eats?
In the Arctic, as we know, nothing special profit.But musk oxen, as well as all the cattle are herbivores.The basis of their diet - certain herbs, such as sedge and willow.In the course of its evolution, these creatures managed to cleverly adapt to difficult and even poor forage land tundra.Summer lasts only a few weeks, so the lion's share of his boring life Cavicorn spend eating dry plants under snow.That is what feeds the musk ox!
can be found in the tundra grass, if it is good to try.That is what muskoxen they strenuously digging snow in search of roots and stems.And before the start of the active period of its rut (the instinct of reproduction) in the snowless time try to visit natural salt licks to obtain all the necessary micro-and macro.
Why are they called musk oxen?
Currently called "musk ox" is almost does not apply to the musk ox, but once their only way to call it.For what they have been given a nickname?The historians say that the so-dubbed them the French traveler of the XVIII century.He did without any grounds argued that the musk ox is able to allocate odors, which at the time was widely used in perfumery.
As we know, the spirits in the XVIII-XIX centuries were made from various essential oils and, of course, of musk.Then it was extracted from the secret glands of musk deer, but a scientist that was not enough.Historians generally believe that he longed to receive the money for the expedition, so openly lied to everyone's face.