Antlers

A Mathematical Analysis of Animal Horns

The following essay examines the application of mathematics to biological structures, in particular animal horns. It begins by exploring the evolutionary reasons for ornamental appendages among horned animals.  Mathematical computations reveal a relationship between ornament size and “honest advertisement” due to a high cost of having such large appendages. Furthermore,…

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The Mechanics of Antler Bone: A Weapon for Courtship

An organism’s evolutionary fitness is determined by its ability to pass on its genes to its offspring. Males of some species make use of their courting and fighting abilities to gain access to mates, thus passing on genetic material. When it comes to Cervidae, or the family of ruminant mammals,…

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The Hormone-Dependent Regenerative Basis of Antlers

Antlers are unique architectures. They are shed and rebuilt at yearly intervals, growing from bony pedicles in early spring to full-fledged structures cast in late March. The antler growth cycle—known as antlerogenesis—is a process controlled by the fluctuating interactions of myriad hormones, mainly testosterone. The growth rate is among the…

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