Musk Ox skull
This musk ox skull must have weighed 20 pounds. The males start growing their horns when they are about a year old and they keep growing throughout their lives.

Musk oxen are huge, woolly beasts! They look like the kind of creature that would roar into town on a big, loud motorcycle. We got to meet several today at the Large Animal Research Station (LARS) outside of Fairbanks. Apparently they went extinct in Alaska in the 1800's but they have been re-introduced from herds in Greenland. At LARS they brush out the animal's soft woolly undercoat in the spring and sell it to people who knit nice sweaters and hats. The money they make goes toward caring for the animals.

Musk Ox
This is one of the musk ox we met at the Large Animal Research Center outside Fairbanks during orientation for our polar explorations. The big bull let out a rumbling groan almost like a lion's roar!

We also met several caribou - a close relative of the reindeer. Did you know caribou are terrific swimmers? They have to swim away from packs of wolves. New baby caribou can run about an hour after a birth. This makes them safer from hungry wolves. There are so many mosquitoes up where the caribou live that they can lose a half a pint of blood to mosquito bites every day!

These are two caribou at the Large Animal Research Center. Caribou (like reindeer) lose their horns in winter unless they are a pregnant female. That means Santa's reindeer must be female!

Fun with caribou antlers
I tried on a couple of caribou antlers for size. These two are obviously not a pair!

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