Antlers on Female Caribou

Biogeography of the Bones of Contention
James A. Schaefer and Shane P. Mahoney

Abstract: Functional explanations for horns and antlers on female ungulates are conflicting. The authors tested the hypothesis that such appendages serve in intraspecific competition for resources by analyzing the tendency for female caribou to carry antlers across a 1000 km wide gradient. The authors predicted that females in populations experiencing more intense or more protracted interference competition, reflected as greater depth and duration of snow cover, would exhibit greater propensity to bear antlers.