Species Name: Ovibos moschatus Weight: — pounds. Dating back to abouttoyears ago, muskoxen are known as the shaggy survivors of the Ice Age. Today muskoxen are found in northern Canada, Greenland, and Alaska.
Ovibos moschatus is a circumpolar species native to Canada, Greenland, and up until the late 's, Alaska. The species was reintroduced to Alaska from animals captured in Greenland in the 's. Muskox have also been introduced into Russia, Svalbard, Norway, and Siberia.
The Musk Ox Ovibos moschatus are large cattle-like animals that are part of the Bovidae family. They can be found on the treeless tundra from Alaska east through northern Canada to Greenland. Their name is derived from the strong musky smell of the bulls that is omitted during the mating season in summer.
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When we think of the ox, too often we think of those bulls that pulled the pioneers across the prairie and have labored in fields for centuries. There's a creature that came before the sad short haired oxen, one that people have never been able to conquer and put to work: the majestic musk ox. Yes, the musk ox with its gorgeous long hair and intense horns has never been used for such a menial task as pulling a plow.
But these hairy powerhouses face a great number of dangers in their Arctic home. Contrary to their name and appearance, musk ox have no true musk glands and are not oxen. They are more closely related to sheep and goats than the buffalo they more closely resemble.
Musk oxen are large and incredible creatures that survive in the brutal conditions of the arctic tundra. These mammals are often compared to cattle such as the very furry highland cow, yet musk ox are actually related more closely to sheep and goats. Musk oxen are part of the Bovidae family all of the species of this family have two-toed hooves, four-chambered stomachs, and are herbivores.
The muskox. Superficially the muskox resembles the bison: humped shoulders and a long black coat accentuate the shortness of its legs. In fact, it is more closely related to sheep and goats. Although not very tall—the shoulder hump of a standing bull reaches only to about the chest height of a person—muskoxen are relatively heavy owing to their stocky and compact build.
Adult musk oxen are tough beasts and can withstand temperatures down to minus 40 degrees Celsius. But young calves cans struggle to survive in such temperatures. Photo: Lars Holst Hansen.
That mammal is the muskox Ovibos moschatusand despite its low profile, it survived the last ice age, unlike woolly mammoths, saber-toothed cats, and other prehistoric animals. Joel Berger, WCS senior scientist. Although doing well in the Canadian Archipelago and a few mainland sites, musk oxen disappeared from Arctic Alaska years ago.