3d art render of three ProngHorn Antelope.
Made with Bryce 7 Pro and photoshop.
The Pronghorn (Antilocapra americana), is a species of artiodactyl mammal endemic to interior western and central North America. Though not an antelope, it is often known colloquially in North America as the Prong Buck, Pronghorn Antelope, Speedgoat, or simply Antelope, as it closely resembles the true antelopes of the Old World and fills a similar ecological niche due to convergent evolution. It is the only surviving member of the family Antilocapridae.
Adult males are 1.3–1.5 m (4 1/4–5 ft) long from nose to tail and stand 81–104 cm (2 5/8–3 3/8 ft) high at the shoulder, and weigh 36–70 kg. The females are the same heights as males but weigh 41–50 kg. The feet have just two hooves, with no dewclaws.
Pronghorns in Montana, United States.Each “horn” of the Pronghorn is composed of a slender, laterally flattened blade of bone that grows from the frontal bones of the skull, forming a permanent core. As in the Giraffidae, skin covers the bony cores, but in the Pronghorn it develops into a keratinous sheath which is shed and regrown on an annual basis. Unlike the horns of the family Bovidae, the horn sheaths of the Pronghorn are branched, each sheath possessing a forward-pointing tine (hence the name Pronghorn). The horns of males are well developed.
Males have a prominent pair of horns on the top of the head, which are made up of an outer sheath of hairlike substance that grows around a bony core; the outer sheath is shed annually. Males have a horn sheath about 12.5–43 cm (mean 25 cm) long with a prong. Females have smaller horns, ranging from 2.5–15 cm (average 12 cm), and sometimes barely visible; they are straight and very rarely pronged. Males are further differentiated from females in that males will have a small patch of black hair at the corner of the jawbone. Pronghorns have a distinct, musky odor. Males mark territory with a scent gland located on the sides of the head. They also have very large eyes, with a 320 degree field of vision. Unlike deer, Pronghorns possess a gallbladder.
It can run exceptionally fast, being built for maximum predator evasion through running, and is generally accepted to be the fastest land mammal in the New World. The top speed is very hard to measure accurately and varies between individuals; it is variously cited as up to 70 km/h, 72 km/h, or 86 km/h. It is often cited as the second-fastest land animal, second only to the cheetah. It can, however, sustain high speeds longer than cheetahs. University of Idaho zoologist John Byers has suggested that the Pronghorn evolved its running ability to escape from extinct predators such as the American cheetah, since its speed greatly exceeds that of extant North American predators. It has a very large heart and lungs, and hollow hair. Although built for speed, it is a very poor jumper. Their ranges are often affected by sheep ranchers’ fences. However, they can be seen going under fences, sometimes at high speed. For this reason the Arizona Antelope Foundation and others are in the process of removing the bottom barbed wire from the fences, and/or installing a barbless bottom wire.
Gaits used by the Pronghorn include the highly distinctive pronk, a leaping gait.
Pronghorns were brought to scientific notice by the Lewis and Clark Expedition, which found them in what is now South Dakota, USA. The range extends from southern Saskatchewan and Alberta in Canada south through the United States (southwestern Minnesota and central Texas west to northeastern California), to Sonora and San Luis Potosí in northern Mexico, with a small disjunct population in northern Baja California Sur.
The subspecies known as the Sonoran Pronghorn (Antilocapra americana sonoriensis) occurs in Arizona and Mexico. Other subspecies include the Mexican Pronghorn (A. a. mexicana), the Oregon pronghorn (A. a. oregona), and the critically endangered Baja California Pronghorn (A. a. peninsularis).
Bands of Pronghorns live in open grasslands, forming small single-sex groups in spring and summer, and gathering into large mixed herds, sometimes up to 1,000 strong, in the fall and winter. An ongoing study by the Lava Lake Institute for Science and Conservation and the Wildlife Conservation Society, shows an overland migration route that covers more than 160 miles. The migrating pronghorn start travel from the foothills of the [Pioneer Mountains] through [Craters of the Moon National Monument] to the Continental Divide. Dr. Scott Bergen of Wildlife Conservation Society says, ""This study shows that pronghorn are the true marathoners of the American West. “With these new findings, we can confirm that Idaho supports a major overland mammal migration—something that is becoming increasingly rare in the U.S. and worldwide.”
Pronghorns live primarily in grasslands but also in brushland and deserts. They eat a wide variety of plant foods, often including plants that are unpalatable or toxic to domestic livestock (sheep and cattle) though they also compete with these for food. In one study forbs comprised 62% of the diet, shrubs 23%, and grasses 15%, while in another, cacti comprised 40%, grass 22%, forbs 20%, and shrubs 18%.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.