why do horned vipers have horns

For desert snakes that shuffle into sand until nearly buried, wind-blown sand is not the only thing to consider.

Describe 2020 In Just One Word? Cerastes is a genus of small, venomous vipers found in the deserts and semi-deserts of northern North Africa eastward through Arabia and Iran. So maybe I'll end up loving your theory." Given Erpeton's habit of mimicing a twig in the water, I think that argument can be reasonably made too. You can also shop using Amazon Smile and though you pay nothing more we get a tiny something. Returning to the question in hand, I don't think there's a single answer. The best of The Straight Dope, delivered to your inbox. In the Oseberg burial from Norway, which dates to the early Viking period, a tapestry was found on which horned helmets are also depicted. Posted by: D'oh!

This powerful predator can take down birds and mammals even larger than itself, but it also dines on daintier fare such as tiny scorpions, mice, and frogs. A hornless rhino, you have to think, might have a better shot at survival. Inside…, If you didn't know, I've been away. The researchers examined the measurements of 245 male narwhals living in waters off Greenland over the course of 35 years.

Send questions to Cecil via cecil@straightdope.com. I've always suspected that snake horns were either disruptive, to obscure the organism's outline, or just non-selective artifacts of drift or founder effect. Some grew to immense proportions (15-plus feet tall, 20 tons), the better to browse on tree leaves, until elephants edged them out of their habitat. We know you’ll tackle this quiz totis viribus! The image of a Viking with horns on the helmet is simply too good to pass up. Uhh, all of the above? Another possibility that's selective, but not on the horns - what if selection for particular scale morphology or pattern (namely for camoflage) results in 'horns' or 'spines' at points where the developmental system underlying the scales hits a 'glitch' due to the shape of the body? Out of the thousands of different ungulate species on this planet, horses are among the very few that have neither horns nor antlers. Answer: Michelangelo’s famous statue of Moses on display in Vincoli, Rome, in the Basilica of St. Peter in Chains, depicts Moses with two horns on his head. Then scroll to the very bottom of the article, and look on the right for a link to "Wikimedia Commons." Buried in sand day and night are hard to detect accurately. -John Wheeler The problem with such animals is that nice images hardly ever - sometimes never - exist. [5], The phenomenon of humans with horns has been observed in countries lacking advanced medicine. Researchers have speculated that the tusk. 'Wasabi receptor' is snake's infrared sensor, http://www.flickr.com/photos/revtango/3355209688/, Permian-Triassic Mass Extinction Triggered Switch To Warm-Bloodedness, In Canada, 70 Percent Of Firearms Deaths Are Suicide, I Was Homeschooled Until College: Here’s What To Expect, Weekend Science: How Successful Golfers Stay Focused, Tapping secrets of Aussie spider's unique silk, Plugging in: Survey examines American perceptions of -- and resistance to -- electric vehicles, Keeping weight off is up to your brain, not just willpower, Ben-Gurion U researchers discover, Triggerfish learns to catch more diverse food.

Anyway, one feature of gaboon vipers interests me in particular: its nasal horn(s). Like several other species in the genus, they're stocky, broad-headed snakes of forest floors, but other species inhabit deserts and even rocky, montane habitats. The researchers found that the tusks on the male narwhals with the same body size vary from 1.5 feet to 8.2 feet long, however the fluke (or tail) varies much less, ranging from 1.5 feet to 3-feet long. There is a Flickr group set up for people who want to contribute images, and the rules require that they be CC licensed or copyright-free.

I guess for digging porpouses, to look scary to predators, and for mating pourposes. The last four articles that have appeared here were all scheduled to publish in my absence. About female I don't know - sex-specific foraging strategy and crypsis? Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers Holman Old Testament Commentary by Glen Martin. Why don't pitvipers have horns? The photo of the Gaboon is of Bitis rhinoceros (West African Gaboon Viper), not Bitis gabonica (East African Gaboon Viper). Eyebrow horn seems about the same width as the slit eye, shading in sunlight? See more. Polycerate (multi-horned) sheep breeds include the Hebridean, Icelandic, Jacob, Manx Loaghtan, and the Navajo-Churro. This horned portrayal of Moses by Michelangelo and by other artists in other works of art and literature stems from a passage in the book of Exodus. .

- any examples? Vibrational "vibrissae" with closed mouth? And AFAIK, Bitis vipers with horns are all jungle snakes, while the desert ones lack horns.

Looking back at it now, that very first ver 2 post is rather odd. The simple reason cows have horns is because she got the horned gene from both of her parents. In the colubrid Langaha, strong sexual dimorphism is present: in L. nasuta the nasal 'horn' is rod-like and pointed in males, but elaborately serrated in females. Yes, horses are ungulates — literally, hoofed mammals — and so are all those horn- and antler-bearing herbivores you’re picturing. One occasionally finds horn used as a material in antique snuff boxes. With its long, earlike tufts, intimidating yellow-eyed stare, and deep hooting voice, the Great Horned Owl is the quintessential owl of storybooks.

I thought that nasal horns act as bull bar, moving vegetation aside when the viper crawls forward. Contributions are fully tax-deductible. It's time for another Messier Monday, where we profile one of the 110 deep-sky objects that make up the Messier catalogue!

Desert-dwelling species with horns might, it has been suggested, somehow gain protection from sand grains thanks to their horns [Desert horned viper shown here, from wikipedia]. The paper that splits B. rhinoceros and B. gabonica is... Lenk, P., Herrmann, H.-W., Joger, U. ScienceBlogs is a registered trademark of Science 2.0, a science media nonprofit operating under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. It is a vortex or cluster of fused ideas and is endowed with energy." Yes I have seen in the photo provided above that some snak have a horn but it is true it can fetch a good price. But, oh well, Ceratopsian Week took on a life all its own. We are part of Science 2.0, a science education nonprofit operating under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.

DD: Eyebrow horn seems about the same width as the slit eye, shading in sunlight? When daytime predators are present knowing when it is dark, without having to expose the bulk of your body, could save your life. "We also predicted that if the narwhal tusk is sexually selected, we expect greater variation in tusk length compared to the variation in fluke width," said Graham. In the picture of the Desert Horned Viper, the middle of the snake is noticeably thicker than the head. Horns over the eyes are present in the Eyelash boa Trachyboa boulengeri, Mexican horned pitviper Ophyracus undulatus, Montane pitviper Porthidium melanurum, Desert horned viper Cerastes cerastes, Persian horned viper Pseudocerastes persicus, Horned adder Bitis caudalis, Many-horned adder B. cornuta, Eyelash viper Bothriechis schlegelii and Horned rattlesnake or Sidewinder Crotalus cerastes. Why the horned lizard has horns: More than a just-so story.

Hornbills, hoopoes and woodhoopoes are all similar in appearance and have been classified together in a group termed Bucerotes. Could the nose horn be a a way of breaking out of the egg that simply never goes away? Most purebred cattle in the world are born with the ability to naturally grow horns. Cattle horns arise from subcutaneous connective tissue (under the scalp) and later fuse to the underlying frontal bone.[1]. Would they be useful in thermoregulation? How do they hold their heads when heading away from or towards the sun?

In all of these snakes, the horns are soft structures make of spikes or scales.

Now a new study suggests the true evolutionary purpose of these horns -- which can be 8-feet-long -- has to do with sex: The tusks, the research found, are used by male narwhals to compete for and attract mates, a bit like a peacock's ostentatious feathers or an elk's elaborate antlers. Why were Michael and Satan disputing over the body of Moses (Jude 9)? I note that temperature swings can be quite wide and fast in the desert and the snakes would want to preserve their warmth and, perhaps, avoid the worse of the heat. “Affect” vs. “Effect”: Use The Correct Word Every Time.

[7], Animals have a variety of uses for horns and antlers, including defending themselves from predators and fighting members of their own species (horn fighting) for territory, dominance or mating priority. Three subspecies have been described. And AFAIK, Bitis vipers with horns are all jungle snakes, while the desert ones lack horns. "The information that the tusk communicates is simple: 'I am bigger than you,'" said Graham. Whatever other obvious benefit they confer — African rhinos are huge and mean enough that they have no natural predators — horns play a notable role when rhinos, largely solitary otherwise, convene for courtship and mating; the males’ horns are used not so much to lure the ladies (as with deer) but to use in sparring with rivals. But past that you’re on the wrong trail. Similar growths on other parts of the body are not usually called horns, but spurs, claws, or hooves, depending on the part of the body on which they occur. Could the horns let the snake know that the hole it is about to go down is too small? Horn strips for inlaying wood are a traditional technique. ear-tufts on lynxes and owls. Of course, we can speculate all we like - what's needed are actual *experiments*. Finally, really weird horn-like structures are present in the Fishing snake Erpeton tentaculatum and in the Madagascan Langaha species. Dunk: In the desert viper illustrated above, at least, those horns look exactly placed to prevent dazzle from overhead sunlight. This needs measurements to be made of maximum dorsoventral height of body, and height at horns, to see if the two are related. Later, DNA research revealed genetic similarities between seemingly unlike species, scrambling classification systems still further; elephants and manatees, once counted among the ungulates, got bumped into a more distant grouping. The nose horns of most species are single, but gaboon vipers possess two, and there is a cluster of little horns in the Rhinoceros viper. Back here in the present, humans have become a factor in the ongoing development of rhinos, whose horns continue to attract the poachers that have already wiped out certain subspecies. In the latter use, the horn elements may be cut into short cylindrical segments held together by a metal core. Please make a tax-deductible donation if you value independent science communication, collaboration, participation, and open access. * Someone really needs to embark on some massive creative commons project involving photos of the world's reptiles and amphibians.

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