Sunday, October 31, 2010

Uneasy lies the head that wears . . .

So ends October, the month for animals . . . (See Oct. 1 post) Here’s a long-extinct animal, the Elk-Moose (Cervalces Scotti), who at least 40,000 years ago, ranged over most of the eastern half of the continent, inhabiting bog lands and wetlands.

This impressive skeleton (and head gear!), a gift from Princeton University, can be seen at the NJ State Museum, just inside and to the right of the entrance. It’s believed that rapid climate change at the end of the Pleistocene Epoch probably caused this creature to go extinct – that, and the arrival of the (more adaptive and slightly smaller) “modern” moose.

Found in Hope township, Warren County, NJ, this is one of just two complete skeletons of the elk-moose in the world.

Does anyone else wonder how this guy supported those antlers?

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