Fulfill Asia’s Saber-Toothed Deer | Mental Floss

Peter Halasz

Why develop antlers when you can have fangs? Persons usually associate “saber teeth” with bloodthirsty ice age cats, but a several modern critters also have them—including some relatively docile herbivores.

Meet up with the musk deer relatives (aka: the Moschidae). To day, seven species have been determined, all of which hail from Asia—though the fossil report reveals that their prehistoric kin when roamed Europe and North The usa as perfectly. Also, mainly because of to their absence of antlers, these fellas aren’t technically viewed as deer, inspite of their popular identify.

In lieu of headgear, the animals have evolved some ferocious-hunting canines. Males boast a pair of curved tusks protruding from their upper jaws, which are utilized to ward off rivals once mating period heats up. But it’s a really distinctive anatomical function which is used for wooing the fairer intercourse.

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“Musk” deer are so named simply because of an strange gland found in the vicinity of the males’ hindquarters. These sacs secrete a pungent chemical that’s sprayed liberally throughout their territories. Females discover the odor completely tantalizing, and—sadly—so do poachers. People have long been making use of this compound, the powerful scent of which is even documented in the Quran. Hailed a beguiling aphrodisiac and an successful medicinal ingredient, moschid musk is “one of the most valuable products and solutions in the natural kingdom and can be well worth a few situations its bodyweight in gold,” claims conservationist Stuart Chapman. While it’s feasible to “milk” are living specimens, hunters choose killing these animals ahead of taking away their glands completely. Because of to this regrettable follow, most species are now endangered.

Intriguingly, a completely distinctive wide range of fanged, deer-like mammal also resides in Asia. The Chinese h2o deer (Hydropotes inermis) is a beagle-sized herbivore that’s been recognized to swim for miles on finish in search of food and shelter in the wetlands it phone calls home. Through the 1800s, they have been introduced to England and subsequently commenced spreading by way of the British countryside as properly.

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