JUN 02, 2020 10:09 AM PDT

Why Do So Many Animals Have Different Styles of Headgear?

WRITTEN BY: Anthony Bouchard

A substantial number of animals have evolved to have ornate and functional headgear that can help them defend themselves against potential threats, such as predators or rivaling males. This headgear can come in the form of antlers, fangs, horns, or tusks, and in most cases, you’ll find them on the heads of herbivores that lack any other form of natural self-defense from vicious or otherwise hungry predators.

Animals like deer, rams, and even rhinos all sport some sort of headgear, but they vary in shape and size. In any case, almost all of these animals will use their headgear as a means of fighting with other males for dominance, and if it comes down to it, use it as a means of self-defense against predators that can easily overpower them. As an added bonus, it seems that females seem to favor males of various species with larger horns or antlers, which means that headgear plays a role in mating success as well.

Headgear sporting animals typically have thick skulls that can both support their own headgear and withstand the impact of an enemy’s headgear. Some animals use their headgear as a charging weapon to impale or push their enemy, while others lock heads with the enemy and wrestle with one another until one submits. The best case scenario is when a male sports massive headgear, as it can be used to intimidate potential opponents before a struggle ever breaks out.

It’s worth noting that not all headgear-sporting animals get to keep it year-round. Antlered animals shed their antlers every year and re-grow them, whereas horn-bearing animals keep their existing headgear for life. One major difference between the two is that antlers are quite literally exposed bone, whereas horns are keratin reinforced.

Even some insects and reptiles sport headgear, and many of these animals use their horns for similar purposes. It’s particularly interesting how each animal uses its headgear given the fact that these animals vary substantially from one to another.

Related: Two moose were allegedly frozen in time with their antlers locked together amid a tough battle

About the Author
  • Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
You May Also Like
JUN 14, 2020
Plants & Animals
Conservationists Begin Tracking Red Pandas with GPS Satellites
JUN 14, 2020
Conservationists Begin Tracking Red Pandas with GPS Satellites
The red panda (Ailurus fulgens) is one of several animals recognized as an endangered species on the International Union ...
JUL 20, 2020
Earth & The Environment
Ectotherm thermal physiology puts amphibians at even greater climate risk than previously recognized
JUL 20, 2020
Ectotherm thermal physiology puts amphibians at even greater climate risk than previously recognized
Things aren’t looking good for amphibians. According to new research published in Global Change Biology from Simon ...
JUL 27, 2020
Neuroscience
Bigger Brains Linked to More Manual Dexterity in Apes
JUL 27, 2020
Bigger Brains Linked to More Manual Dexterity in Apes
Although people are very skilled at using their hands, they take a long time to master how to use them. Meanwhile, for m ...
AUG 05, 2020
Plants & Animals
Satellite Images Reveal New Emperor Penguin Colonies
AUG 05, 2020
Satellite Images Reveal New Emperor Penguin Colonies
The British Antarctic Survey (BAS) and the European Space Agency (ESA) recently shared excellent news about emperor peng ...
AUG 21, 2020
Cannabis Sciences
Growing Cannabis Indoors is Not Eco Friendly
AUG 21, 2020
Growing Cannabis Indoors is Not Eco Friendly
Indoor cannabis cultivation is considered to produce the highest quality cannabis available, but the elephant in the roo ...
SEP 17, 2020
Genetics & Genomics
Revealing More About the Past With a New Metagenomic Technique
SEP 17, 2020
Revealing More About the Past With a New Metagenomic Technique
Scientists can use advanced genomics techniques to mine samples for all the genetic material they contain.
Loading Comments...