Ovibos moschatus 

Last night we passed 9,000 followers! OVER NINE THOUSAND.  It’s been my goal for a while to pass 10k by the end of the year and we are well on our way.  For those of you who are new, hello!  My name is Emily Graslie, I am a volunteer here in the museum, the only full-time staff, and am currently studying to get my MA in Museum Studies through Johns Hopkins University.  I’ve been authoring this blog for a little over a year and it has been the most fun, EVER.  I love it!  If you ever have any questions, comments, or requests, feel free to drop them in the Ask box, and I’m happy to share things through our Submission page or help you identify skulls/bones/faunal assemblages.  I really enjoy hearing from you guys, so keep the messages rolling in!

For today’s post I decided to haul down this skull of a male muskox (Ovibos moschatus) from atop one of the cabinets.  Muskoxen belong to the subfamily Caprinae, or the goat-antelope family (not actually antelope!) The first time I ever saw a muskox up close was when I was eight and we were on a family trip to Alaska.  I remember being blown away by their immense size, odd horn growth (like a helmet of extremely dense hair), and their massive amounts of hair.  Being that they thrive in cold, northern environments, it only makes sense that they need such a thick coat.  According to Animal Diversity Web this can actually become a problem in the coldest months because they will overheat while running from predators which is why it is so important that they exist in tightly-knit herds.  These herds are usually referred to as ‘harems’ because they are mostly comprised of females with a dominant male.  Can you think of anything more attractive than a harem of muskoxen?  The more you know!