Elk, Moose and Pronghorn from A Trip Through the Rocky Mountains

Male or Bull Elk (Cervus canadensis) with Antlers in Velvet;
Lamar Valley, Yellowstone National Park, WY; MAY 2019

In sharing these images today, I am using the common North American names for these animals. It was interesting learning about these animals though because, the names are not consistent. Even in North America, the Elk is referred to a Wapiti, from the Shawnee term Wa Piti meaning White-rumped. Also, Elk are sometimes claimed to be the same as the European Red Deer. However, mitochondrial testing in 2004 found that the much smaller Red Deer is a different species.[i] To confuse matters further, in Eurasia, the Moose is called an Elk.[ii]

The Pronghorn is sometimes referred to as an antelope but it is not a true antelope. Unlike true antelopes, the keratin sheathing on its horns is shed and regrown annually. The pronghorn is also the only animal that has branched horns.

The Elk and the Moose are members of the deer family, which means they have antlers made of bone. The pronghorn and true antelope, as well as cows, sheep and goats have horns which have a bony center covered by a keratinous sheath.

Anyway, forget the confusion unless it helps in social conversation and enjoy these magnificent animals.


[i] Elk Network. https://elknetwork.com/whats-the-difference-between-red-deer-and-elk/

[ii] Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moose

Note: Please click on caption to see image at higher resolution.

Female Moose (Alces alces);
Moose Wilson RD, Grand Tetons National Park, WY
Pronghorn (Antilocapra americana)
Female Elk (Cervus canadensis);
Grand Tetons National Park, Near Moran, WY; MAY 2019
Female Pronghorn (Antilocapra americana);
Lamar Valley, Yellowstone National Park, WY; MAY 2019
Male or Bull Elk (Cervus canadensis) with Antlers in Velvet;
Lamar Valley, Yellowstone National Park, WY; MAY 2019

These and other images are available to purchase on my website: www.earthwatcher.us or by contacting larry.klink@earthwatcher.us.

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