musk ox


musk ox

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Musk oxen (Ovibos moschatus).—Leonard Lee Rue III

Arctic ruminant (bovid species Ovibos moschatus) with a musky odour, large head, and small ears. The neck, legs, and tail are short. Males stand 5 ft (1.5 m) tall and may weigh almost 900 lb (400 kg). Both sexes have horns. The broad-based horns of males, up to 2 ft (60 cm) long, start at the middle of the head, dip downward along the sides, and then curve upward. The shaggy, dark brown coat reaches nearly to the feet. Eskimos make a fine cashmerelike cloth from the thick wool undercoat, which is shed in summer. Musk oxen travel in herds of 20–30, eating grass, lichen, willow, and other low-growing plants.

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