Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Incredible MuskOx Facts!

Curling MuskOx

Mick Reasor, Gouache on paper, 2.5 x 3.5 inches.

The muskox owes its ability to function in extreme cold and high winds to its amazing coat, which has both woolly and hairy layers. The wool or "qiviut," is stronger, warmer, finer and more expensive than cashmere. Qiviut is also a good word to remember when playing Scrabble.

The coarser hairy layer that covers the wool grows to be the longest hair of any mammal in North America, with the possible exception of certain 1980's Heavy Metal rock musicians.

The Muskoxen's rounded hooves are another physical adaptation to its environment. The front hooves are larger then the hind hooves and enable the muskox to dig through the snow for food. The hooves spread, allowing the animal to walk on soft snow, and providing the muskox with a rudimentary grasp on curling stones and brooms.

During curling season bulls frequently utter deep, rumbling roar-like bellows that serve as direction and encouragement to sweepers and as a challenge to other rinks.



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