A CUSTOMER HAS BROUHGT me an elk head that has a point coming off of one of the browe tines. I know yall are some of the old hands at this and I was wondering if yall have ever seen this before. I have not found any one who has.
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Like all antlered animals, the symetry is prone to dings and dents that cause stray points or stickers. I mounted one elk that the left brow tine had turned into a third main beam and had 4 stickers off of it's 27 inch length. Elk and moose seem less likely for these anamolies than the mule deer and whitetail, but they aren't immune. Still, it makes a good conversation piece.
Ive got an elk rack with a neat drop tine, looks like a big tear drop.
Nature is a fickle thing. We humans tend to believe that most life forms are fixed and permanent. Tain't so in the course of events where living things are concerned. Most of our mammals are at a peak of their evolutionary development, but the dynamics of evolution cause for many variables. The standard rack of any cervid conforms to a set of controls imposed by the mitachondrial DNA, but shifts from the norm are often seen. While the general architecture of antlers pretty much conforms to a general shape in each species of cervid, freak growths and extreme abnormalities occur frequently.
The elk is an old species that is circumpolar in range and similar in development, it's general morphology having been established eons ago. That is not to say that the elk that exists eons from now will in any way resemble the critter we know at present.
The growth on your antlers may be just an abnormality, but it could also be a trend in an isolated group. I would imagine that with the plethora of breeders that are around today, the narrowing of the slective gene base will begin to produce some stranger shapes and arrangements.......sending the elk back down the evolutionary ladder.
The recent 474 elk that was taken in New Zeland is an example of a freak growth that follows the normal architecture. A bull elk that produces that growth consistantly may be able to pass on the trait to offspring. If it is just a hiccup and nothing more, the elk probably wouldn't have produced the same point the following year. A cell in the antler bud just decided to be more than a simple erector block and did it's own thing, so to speak. Rare? Maybe. Unusual? Nope. The elk's little cousin, the whitetail produces much stranger abberations routinely.
I sold a matched set of sheds 2 years ago that had a huge drop tine. I have a few sets that have splits and even one that is crowned like a red deer, its all elk though.
Thanks for the feedbeck on my question. I do respect the advise and answers that you "old hands" have to offer. I am just getting started in this and I read what is posted every night and search the archives on the weekends to learn more. Thanks again.