Difference between horns and antlers
Antlers vs horns:
The animal world is a fascinating place where the diversity of appearences, species and their different characteristics can be quite breathtaking. They have mesmerizing features such as horns and antlers which render these creatures of the forest majestic at the same time, endowed with unnatural beauty. Yet, horns and antlers confuse many a people as they tend to think that these two features are indeed one and the same. Yet, it is very wrong to assume so.
What are antlers?
Antlers can be defined as branching bony appendages that are shed annually which is usually placed on the forehead of an animal. They are usually grown on all male cervids except for the caribou on which antlers are seen even on the females. Antlers exist for self defence purposes and it is grown on all male cervids like moose, deer and elk. Antlers are known to grow faster than any other bone and they are known to grow up to 1 inch (2.5 cm) a day during the summer. These antlers are usually covered by a thin fuzzy skin covering which is known as the “velvet” which conducts the purpose of supplying supply to help the antlers grow. And yet, this skin is shed well before the rutting season when these antlers are shed.
What are horns?
Horns can be defined as a pointed projection of skin and hair of an animal which consists of a layer of keratin surrounding a living bone core. They are slow growing and permanent and are seen on animals of the Bovidae family which contains bovines, sheep, goats and antelopes. They typically bear a spiral or curved shape, with ridges or fluting and the horns serve the purpose of serving as a weapon for self defense as well as forage for food. Horns grow on both sexes and they usually have yearly ‘rings” on them which are markings of an animal’s age.
What is the difference between horns and antlers?
Antlers and horns may seem very alike at a first glance and yet, once on looking more closely, one would realize that they are indeed very different from each other, even from appearance. They are both situated on the forehead of the animal and they both serve the same purpose of a weapon of battle during the mating season, a weapon which serves in cases of self defense and also as a forage for food and yet, antlers are shed annually whereas horns are a permanent apparel which grows very slowly from the day that the animal is born until the day that it dies.
Antlers are only seen on male cervids except for the caribou where one sees antlers even on the females. And yet, these antlers are much smaller than those of the males. And yet, animals of both sexes boast of horns of all shapes and sizes on their foreheads. Also, the growth of the antlers are quite rapid whereas the horns grow more slowly right from that animal’s day of birth till the day it dies. Horns usually develop rings around them which mark each year of the animal’s age whereas antlers do not have such a thing.
Another difference between the two is that antlers are often seen to branch out whereas horns don’t. Horns resemble daggers much more than branches. Both antlers and horns are highly sought after by humans, as trophies or for decorating purposes.