The elk is one of the largest species of deer in the world and one of
the largest land mammals in North America and eastern Asia. Elk are
almost identical to Red Deer in Europe, of which they were long
believed to be a subspecies; however, mitochondrial DNA evidence
strongly suggests they are distinct species. Elk range in forest and
forest-edge habitat, feeding on grass, leaves, and bark. Although
native to North America and eastern Asia, they have adapted well to
countries where they have been introduced, where their great
adaptability may threaten endemic species and ecosystems. Male elk have
large antlers which are shed each year. Males engage in mating
behaviors during the rut, including posturing, antler wrestling
(sparring), and bugling, a loud series of vocalizations which
establishes dominance over other males and attracts females. Elk are
susceptible to a number of infectious diseases, some of which can be
transmitted to livestock. Efforts to eliminate infectious diseases from
elk populations, largely through vaccination, have had mixed success.
Some cultures revere the elk as a spiritual force. In parts of Asia,
antlers and their velvet are used in traditional medicines. Elk are
hunted as a game species; the meat is leaner and higher in protein than
beef or chicken.
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Today's selected anniversaries:
Decembrist revolt: Imperial Russian Army officers led about 3,000
soldiers in a protest against Nicholas I's assumption of the throne
after his elder brother Constantine removed himself from the line of
Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen and his team became the first people
to reach the South Pole.
Haruna, the fourth and last ship of the Kongō-class, was launched,
eventually becoming one of the Japanese workhorses during World War I
and World War II.
Ian Meckiff of Australia was run out by the West Indies, causing the
first Tied Test in the history of cricket.
The United States Supreme Court ruled in Heart of Atlanta Motel v.
United States that Congress could use the Constitution's Commerce
Clause power to fight discrimination.
Cuba and Venezuela founded the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas.
Wiktionary's word of the day:
To attribute; to impute; to refer, as to a cause
Wikiquote quote of the day:
Moral cowardice that keeps us from speaking our minds is as dangerous
to this country as irresponsible talk. The right way is not always the
popular and easy way. Standing for right when it is unpopular is a true
test of moral character.
--Margaret Chase Smith
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