NationalGeographic.com [an error occurred while processing this directive]


 
Feature
More to Explore

Did you know?
Related Links
Bibliography
NGS Resources

On Assignment

On Assignment

Norbert Rosing
Step into the world of writers and photographers as they tell you about the best, worst, and quirkiest places and adventures they encountered in the field.

Zoom In

Get the facts behind the frame in this online-only gallery. Pick an image and see the photographer’s technical notes.

Zoom In Thumbnail
Click to ZOOM IN >>

Zoom In Thumbnail
Click to ZOOM IN >>

Zoom In Thumbnail
Click to ZOOM IN >>

Zoom In Thumbnail
Click to ZOOM IN >>

Zoom In Thumbnail
Click to ZOOM IN >>


map

Muskoxen

Muskoxen map Thumbnail
Click to enlarge >>


Muskoxen

Article and Photographs by Norbert Rosing



Hunted nearly to extinction for their meat and coats, the “bearded ones” again thrive in the Arctic.



Get a taste of what awaits you in print from this compelling excerpt.

Autumn dawns and the tundra stretches wide and flat, seemingly void of life but for tenacious muskoxen pawing at the snow in search of sedges to eat. Ovibos moschatus, an arctic ruminant that coexisted with mastodons and mammoths, waited out the ice ages of the Pleistocene (1,600,000 to 10,000 years ago) in scattered ice-free havens, surviving both early hunters and climate changes that drove many mammals to extinction. Yet it, too, nearly became extinct in North America a century ago, in large part because it was hunted recklessly for its coat and meat, and adults were killed so calves could be captured for zoos. Conservation efforts have since brought O. moschatus back, and more than 60,000 now thrive on Canada’s Victoria Island alone.

Get the whole story in the pages of National Geographic magazine.







multimedia
VIDEO Norbert Rosing describes how muskoxen are tailor-made for cold climate. Click here.



In More to Explore the National Geographic magazine team shares some of its best sources and other information. Special thanks to the Research Division.


Explorers and scientists have puzzled for years over where the muskox belongs in the animal kingdom. Muskox is a misnomer in that it is not an ox and does not have musk glands. Its scientific name, Ovibos moschatus, implies that it is somewhere between a sheep (genus Ovis) and a cow (genus Bos). It looks somewhat like a bison but is more closely related to goats, sheep, and antelope. For years scientists thought that the takin of China was the muskox’s closest living relative. However, recent DNA analysis of the two species shows that they are more closely related to other species than they are to each other. The similarities between the species—big bodies, horns that grow out of the top of the head and hook off to the side, and group defense behavior—appear to be results of convergent evolution rather than a common ancestor. 

Heidi Schultz


Norbert Rosing
www.rosing.de

Read Norbert Rosing’s biography, view his photo gallery, and find out when and where he will give workshop and slide presentations.

Muskox

www.cws-scf.ec.gc.ca/hww-fap/muskox/muskox.html
Fact sheet on Ovibos moschatus from the Canadian Wildlife Service Hinterland Who’s Who.

Community Atlas of Cambridge Bay (Ikaluktutiak), Nunavut, Canada
cgdi.gc.ca/ccatlas/kiilinik
Kiilinik High School’s guide to the economic, human, and physical geography of Cambridge Bay. Learn about the history of the settlement and how to say common phrases and words in Inuinnaqtun, the traditional language spoken in Cambridge Bay.

Polar Net
aulak.polarnet.ca
Check out the Kitikmeot Region/Cambridge Bay website for information on local events, businesses, and history.

Top



Gray, David. The Muskoxen of Polar Bear Pass. Fitzhenry and Whiteside, 1987.

Savage, Candace. “Winter’s Warmest Beasts,” Canadian Geographic (January/February 1999), 30-32.

Whitney, Caspar, George Bird Grinnell, and Owen Winster. Musk-Ox, Bison, Sheep and Goat. The American Sportsman’s Library, Macmillan Company, 1904.

Top



Setzer, Henry W. What is a Mammal? National Geographic Books, 1998.

Mech, David L. “At Home with the Arctic Wolf,” National Geographic (May 1987), 562-593.

Teal, John J., Jr. “Domesticating the Wild and Woolly Musk Ox,” National Geographic (June 1970), 862-879.

Top


© 2002 National Geographic Society. All rights reserved. Privacy Policy       Advertising Opportunities       Masthead

National Geographic Magazine Home Contact Us Forums Shop Subscribe