Liz Butler Draws The ROM: Outstanding Canadian Ungulates!
This week I went to the Schad Gallery of Biodiversity to look at some outstanding Canadians mammals – caribou, bison, and musk ox. These three species all belong to the even-toed ungulate order, Artiodactyla.
Being grouped together in one order means that caribou, bison, and musk oxen share some similar characteristics. All three of these species are herbivores, meaning they eat plant matter. Most even-toed ungulates share this characteristic, although pigs and their close relatives are omnivores (they can eat a variety of plant and animal matter).
Also, as you may have guessed, the feet of these animals share similarities. Even-toed ungulates bear their weight on two or four specialized toes at the end of each limb. In caribou, bison, and musk oxen these toes are covered in hooves.
Ungulates also often have horns, antlers, or ossicones (the nubbins that giraffes and their relatives have on their heads). These features can serve a whole range of purposes, from demonstrating the fitness of an animal, to attracting a mate, to acting as a means of defence. While deer like caribou have antlers, which must be re-grown every year, animals like the musk ox and bison have horns, which do not need to be re-grown.
What other shared characteristics can you identify in these three animals? Can you find any other animals in the museum that share the same characteristics?
- Liz Butler is an artist and teacher who loves natural history and museums. She loves drawing, painting, and making crafts of all kinds. She is happiest when she can find ways to combine art projects with science content.
- Liz’s Website – Liz Butler Draws
- Liz’s Blog – Saw Whet Studio
- More guest posts from Liz HERE!
- Do you like to sketch? Love museums? Are you a full time student in Canada? The ROM is yours to explore, FREE, every Tuesday! MORE!
Guest Post By Liz Butler. Last Updated: September 23rd, 2014.