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Giraffe's horns

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cerinthe's picture
Joined: Oct 16 2005
Giraffe's horns

"rooibokkie" wrote:
I know the calves are born with little horns but did not know they or females had the tufts of hair Maybe this might be a for the ranges to tell us.
This question was asked in the Watering hole, maybe WLC can answer it so we know for sure.

Anonymous's picture

I was actually referring to the difference between a Bulls Horn and a cows. I have managed to find the answer;

The cow’s horns are shorter than the bull’s and have a tuft of hair at the tip; the tip of the bull’s horn is bare. Thus it is possible to identify the sex of the giraffe even if only the animal’s head is visible. (Extract from Kruger National Park Questions & Answers)

Thanks for the other information its very intresting. Eye-wink

Anonymous's picture

From the WildlifeCampus Course: Behaviour Guide to African Herbivores

Unlike all other mammals, the giraffe has the main pair of horns present even in the embryo, formed of cartilage from a layer of skin and unattached to the skull. They lie flat and present no obstacle to birth, but within a few days stand erect and appear prominent, mainly because of terminal tufts of long hair. While growth proceeds from the base, bone deposition begins at the tips and proceeds downward. Fusion with the skull occurs at 4 – 4½ years in males and after 7 years in females. Rather than attaching to the frontal bones, as in deer and antelopes, the giraffe's main pair take root further back, in the parietals.

Male horn growth continues through a unique process whereby bone of dermal (skin) origin is deposited over the whole surface of the skull except where muscles attach. Apart from the parietal and median horns, bone accumulates as knobs at the base of the skull, over the eyes, and on the nose.

Gradually the male's head becomes a massive knobbed club which is used to gain the dominance that spells reproductive success. The skull of a 15-year-old bull may be 7 kg heavier than that of a bull half his age, and assuming body growth also continues after maturation, older bulls also have a size advantage. Maximum age in the wild is about 25 years

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