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09.28.12 News | Today's News | Past Issues
09.28.12 News
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Picture of the Day

Musk Ox Family

Inupiat Eskimos call it "omingmak" or "the bearded one." Shaggy and social, with an almost surreal quality, the musk ox, more than any other animal, conjures up images of the cold, remote arctic. Seeing one takes you back ... to the time of the mammoth, the short-faced bear, and the saber-toothed cat. Musk oxen can be found meandering across the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge coastal plain located in Fairbanks, Alaska. They are uniquely adapted to a frigid environment. Their long, skirt-like guard hairs and thick "qiviut" wool provide insulation, and their square, short-legged bodies retain heat. The animals also don't move around much in winter to conserve energy. In summer, musk oxen feed along rivers on a wide variety of plants. In winter they move to areas with low snow cover to feed on dried sedges and grasses.

Image credit: National Park Service