Do you know the
horns and antlers?
By Linda Milano
are various examples of both horns and antlers throughout Theodore Roosevelt's
home in Sagamore Hill. Most people are not sure of the differences,
which are major.
are made of bone. They are grown and shed every year, and are usually
branched (there is only one animal that has antlers with just one point.)
Antlers are generally grown by male members of the deer family.
Just to make
things more confusing, female Caribou, or reindeer, are the only females
to grow antlers. The Chinese water deer and the musk deer do not grow
any antlers at all, but have evolved tusks which grow down and to the
... About Antlers
grow from the pedicle, a bony platform above the frontal bone of the
skull. They begin growing in late April or May, and start branching
about two weeks later. By the end of May, they are well developed and
covered with "velvet," a covering of skin with nerves and blood vessels.
By August, the growth period ends and the velvet begins to dry at the
When the antlers
are fully hardened, the velvet dies and starts to peel off in shreds.
Once it is completely lost, the mating season begins. When mating season
is over, the pedicle begins to separate from the skull and breaks off
as a complete set when the animal bumps into something.
a few embryonic cells are left and these form the basis of a new pedicle
and antlers, which begin growing about six weeks later. If you visit
Sagamore Hill, there is a place outside the library where you can see
a set of antlers still attached to the pedicle.
on the other hand, are made up of tubular filaments of keratin, the
same substance that makes up human hair and nails. Horns are usually
hollow; only the rhinoceros has solid horns (if you look at the base
of the White Rhino horn, such as the one a Sagamore Hill hall, you can
see where the filaments join).
throughout an animal's life; however, if the tip or point of a horn
breaks for any reason, it will not re-form. Horns have only one point.
The exception to this rule is the Pronghorn Antelope of the American
plains. Not only do their horns have two points (hence the name Pronghorn),
but they also shed their horns on a regular basis.
about the giraffe? Horns or antlers? The two hairy lumps between the
ears of the giraffe are neither antlers nor horns, but two hairy,
fleshy lumps between the ears!