Ovis canadensis

| 28 Comments
mtwash6.jpg

Ovis canaensis (female) — Big horn sheep, Yellowstone National Park

28 Comments

Is this an adolescent or a female?

We saw 4 of them, as we drove to Drumheller this summer, just sitting on the side of the road. Cars parked all around them, it’s like they had scheduled the photo op. Very cool. My favourite part of the Tyrell was the re-creation of the Burgess critters. Spooky.

Stanton said:

Is this an adolescent or a female?

Dinner.

Is this an adolescent or a female?

Probably.

Goddidit, obviously.

Reed A. Cartwright said:

Stanton said:

Is this an adolescent or a female?

Dinner.

You think she’d like Souplantation?

See? I really think jobby is only pretending to be a creationist to bait you guys.

See? I really think jobby is only pretending to be a creationist to bait you guys.

Like I’ve said before, I think he’s a grad student working on a thesis about how many times people are willing to try to correct a blatant misrepresentation of the truth before they simply give up and walk away.

Various political campaigns are standing inline to buy his data as we speak.

Either that, or he’s an angry, pimply, awkwardly antisocial guy that can’t get laid because he’s too weird, and this is the only social interaction he gets because normal people avoid him.

OK, so I’ll go even money on the second one too.

That’s a false handjobby. Ours never capitalizes his name.

Praise Pedants!

Stanton said:

Is this an adolescent or a female?

Both, Stanton. I no longer live in my home town in Wyoming, but one can occasionally glass what is (or was last time I saw the stat) the largest heard of Rocky Mountain Bighorns in the lower 48 from the streets of town. Portions of the herd frequently graze on the slopes just to the south. It isn’t unusual to encounter the sheep along roads through certain areas.

The sheep display an interesting behavior in the presence of humans. If you are in a vehicle you can approach within a few feet as long as the vehicle is moving. Slowly, of course. If you stop the sheep will withdraw 20 yards or so. If you get out, and especially if you make eye contact, they will withdraw a further 50 yards or so.

All the time they carry on with a certain air of confidence. They don’t seem to mind your presence but they act as though they just don’t like to be too close to you. It also seems that they understand that you are less of a threat when you are inside your vehicle. As well, these encounters take place out of hunting season and in areas where hunting is not allowed even during hunting season.

And you ought to see them run up near vertical rock faces! Like 250 pound geckos!

Stanton said:

Is this an adolescent or a female?

Do these have to be mutually exclusive? If so how would I be classified in 7th grade when I was perving on the non male adolescents? I always thought they where females well except for that Michelle…she was big and strong and just scary.

It also seems that they understand that you are less of a threat when you are inside your vehicle.

Or maybe a person inside a vehicle, with only head and maybe arms visible, doesn’t look much like an animal that might be a threat. Deer around here have an analogous reaction; a car stops nearby, they just keep grazing. A person walks by on the sidewalk, they move away to what I guess they regard as a safe distance.

Henry

OK, PT, what’s going on? A new format, with a thread devoted to each “kind”? ;-)

Frank J said:

OK, PT, what’s going on? A new format, with a thread devoted to each “kind”? ;-)

I was thinking the same thing.

If you stop the sheep will withdraw 20 yards or so. If you get out, and especially if you make eye contact, they will withdraw a further 50 yards or so.

OTOH, the ones I encountered in the Canadian Rockies were much less timid. I was hiking up a mountain outside Banff and carrying my young daughter on my back when we came across a bighorn on the trail. At first we just eyed each other, but then the sheep started slowly approaching. Apparently they’ve learned that hikers have somewhat salty knees and it wanted to get in a few licks.

Crudely Wrott said:

It also seems that they understand that you are less of a threat when you are inside your vehicle.

Not quite the same as buffalo, who you understand are much less of threat to you as long as you stay in your vehicle.

White Rabbit (Greg Goebel) http://www.vectorsite.net/gblog.html

Man, that’s a sheep that I’d have trouble sorting from a goat, but it sure would stand out in a paddock full of merino-southdown crosses.

Come to think of it, that’s a serious question. How long ago did the sheep and goat lineages diverge, and has the divergence been accelerated by artificial selection of sheep? Did sheep look like this in, say, 5000 BCE, before humans got involved?

Dave Luckett said:

Did sheep look like this in, say, 5000 BCE, before humans got involved?

The wild ancestor was the mouflon (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mouflon ) fairly quickly bred into something more like the Soay sheep: http://www.kilda.org.uk/soay-sheep.htm . They still retain primitive characteristics like shedding their wool (which is fine and soft).

Sorry I don’t know off-hand when the goat/sheep divide was, but it’s incredibly difficult to distinguish between the bones of the two species, except horn-cores, some of the teeth and some of the foot bones.

Crudely Wrott said:

Stanton said:

Is this an adolescent or a female?

Both, Stanton. I no longer live in my home town in Wyoming, but one can occasionally glass what is (or was last time I saw the stat) the largest heard of Rocky Mountain Bighorns in the lower 48 from the streets of town.

snip

Where in Wyo?

Howdy, Krubozumo Nyankoye. That would be in the Wind River Mountains just upstream from the confluence of Wind River and Warm Springs Creek. Find Jackson on the map and go about 45 miles, as the crow flies, to the east.

Ahhh, yes one of my favorite parts of the world! Until a few years ago I made nearly annual pilgrimages to the Winds, particularly in the head waters of the Green River but mostly west of the divide. This time of year if the weather holds, is unequaled. So many canyons and peaks, so little time!

Cheers,

Krubozumo Nyankoye said:

Ahhh, yes one of my favorite parts of the world! Until a few years ago I made nearly annual pilgrimages to the Winds, particularly in the head waters of the Green River but mostly west of the divide. This time of year if the weather holds, is unequaled. So many canyons and peaks, so little time!

Cheers,

I hope you had the pleasure of a drink in the Rustic Pine Tavern.

No actually, not to my recollection. There was a pretty decent watering hole in Pinedale for a few years, MacGregor’s or something close to that which we frequented until it changed hands. For the most part it was strictly bush mentality, a friend of many decades and I would hump hefty packs twenty miles or so into some isolated enclave, set up a camp and then spend a few days trying to tackle unnamed peaks by unknown routes. We always lugged a quart or two of Marker’s Mark (transferred to plastic containers to save weight, heretical I know) and camped on the edge of vast meadows where we could go out and watch the moon rise and sip whiskey. One time we saw four satellites at once transiting the dark and star strewn sky. Over nearyly twenty years of such behavior we were snowed out about five times. One trip, to the Alpine Lakes area was an epic, we had to walk out in a literal blizzard. It was kind of fun actually, once we were out.

This all got started because in the late 70’s I went in from Green River lakes and did the direct east face of Square Top which at the time was graded a VI. The only time I have gone in from east of the divide was in the late 60’s when I did Gannet peak via Grasshopper Glacier in the winter. It was difficult in terms of the conditions, but a technical cake walk. I was trying to tune up my skills for a proposed trip to Annapurna that never materialized. We went in from Crow Heart and I remember clearly that it was a good 3 day walk up to the base of the mountain from the road head. Most of the western approaches are considerably shorter so that is what I have focused on since.

It’s just an incredibly fine place, wild, rugged, demanding and overflowing with surpassing beauty. Certainly there are many other ranges in the world that have such traits and maybe some of them exceed the Winds in the degree to which they are spectacular, but there is nothing like them in the lower 48.

BTW I was born in Casper in ‘49.

Cheers,

Dave Luckett said:

Man, that’s a sheep that I’d have trouble sorting from a goat, but it sure would stand out in a paddock full of merino-southdown crosses.

In arid areas where sheep and goats are herded it can be difficult to tell the two apart (hence the biblical expression) but one clear difference seemed to me to be that sheep keep their tails down and goats keep their tails up. I’ve asked goat and sheep specialists why the difference but they just looked at me oddly.

This was one of two mature females accompanied by two young ‘ums that we encountered on the Mt. Washburn trail in Yellowstone. Not shy at all. We got close enough to almost touch them., and although they wouldn’t let us do that, they didn’t run away–just walked a few steps away. Maybe bikers are feeding them or something. But they did not act like they expected food, so I couldn’t tell. Either way, it was a very nice wildlife encounter.

In arid areas where sheep and goats are herded it can be difficult to tell the two apart

It’s a conspiracy - the critters are just trying to pull the wool over people’s eyes.

Henry

Ovis canadensis nice pics thx :D

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Timothy Sandefur published on September 24, 2008 12:00 PM.

Eureka! Heureka! An Astonishing New Ant! was the previous entry in this blog.

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