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Do you know the difference between horns and antlers? Talk to your kids. Make a difference.


Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/thebrainscoop

The Brain Scoop is written and hosted by:
Emily Graslie

Guest Star:
Stefan Chin

Created by:
Hank Green

Written, Directed, Edited, Animated, and Scored by:
Michael Aranda

Kudos to Martina Šafusová, Diana Raynes, Susy Hovland, João Henrique Diniz, John-Alan Pascoe, Anne-Sophie Caron, Katerina Idrik, Kerstin Sievers, Georgina Gócza, Adam Wojniłło, Andrés García Molero, Ulla Aeschbacher, Tony Chu, Ada Häggkvist Aarvåg, Henrik Johansen, Nur Iskandar Bin Nuruddin, and Seth Bergenholtz for providing transcriptions on this video!
Emily: There are many things that plague our country today. Rampant crime, violent video games, a degradation of family values ... But perhaps most importantly: children aren't being taught to differentiate properly between horns and antlers.

Horns and antlers are generally used for defending territory, fighting off predators, and attracting mates. I know nothing gets me going quite like a nice, big rack of antlers.

Stefan: Antlers!

Emily: No, Stefan, that's a horn.
Horns are comprised of an internal living bone core, covered with a permanent keratin sheath. Keratin is the stuff that you hair and your fingernails are made out of.
Horns start to grow shortly after birth and continue with the animal throughout its life. The horn specimens we have in our collection include sheep, mountain goats, cows, and bison. You'll notice here that horns are single protrusions without any additional forking or branching.

Stefan: Horns!

Emily: No, Stefan, those are antlers.
Antlers are made entirely out of bone and unlike horns are repeatedly shed and regrown throughout the animal's lifetime. These antlers also, known as a rack, regrow larger every year. By the time a male reaches his golden years it will take just as much energy to grow a large set of antlers as it does for a female moose to grow a baby.
The antler initially grows out of the skull covered with a protective, soft, fleshy, skin-like covering called velvet. After the antlers beneath have reached their full size and mineralized into bone the velvet is shed revealing the animal's shiny new rack in all of its glory. Antlers can be forked like on a mule deer, or branched like on a white-tailed deer. Other examples of antlered animals in our collection are caribou, moose, elk, raccoon ... Raccoon?!

And, uh, all the brain is down the sink now.