Do all giraffes have horns?

Do all giraffes have horns?

Giraffes don’t have horns they have ossicones. Official records do not classify giraffes as trophy animals because they lack true keratin horns. Both males and females have fixed ossicones of fully developed bones that are growing from the frontal plate of the skull, which is covered with epidermal skin.

The ossicones sometimes break during fierce bullfighting, but unlike real horns, they do not grow back. A broken part often remains attached to the skin and hangs down the side of the head.

The ossicones of bulls are generally thicker and have less hair at the tip than cows. Calves are born with horns completely covered in pointed tufts of fur. In bulls, the anterior part of the anterior cranial plate thickens with age; this phenomenon also occurs in Eland bulls.

Ossicones are not true horns because they lack keratin. Giraffes have several sets of ossicones, the most important of which are the parietals, and bones, but in addition to a more anterior central horn on the frontal bone of all males and some females.

Ossicones begin as bony nodules under the skin, quite separate from the skull bone (like the human kneecap, they are sesame bone), but each ossicone later fuses. Again, unlike horns, the bones are permanent and present in both sexes.

In a few samples, the ossicones (horns) were nearly a meter long and webbed, the cartilage that begins after birth, begins apically, and continues proximally, leaving a cartilaginous pad at the base for later growth, the latter based on Blumenbach’s 1805 manual and an 1872 article by Murie who believed that the ossicones developed endochondral from this cartilage.

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