February 19, 2015
The Year of the Sheep
- as seen by -Scott Silver
No one knows the origins of the Jacob’s four-horned sheep (although they are known to have existed in England for at least the last four or five hundred years,) or the evolutionary advantages their wild ancestors gained by possessing more than the usual two horns. Their striking appearance make them the perfect mascot for this Lunar New Year, the year of the sheep, not to mention the diversity of animal life that has evolved over the millennia.
This Jacob’s ram is an impressive example of a polycerate (multi-horned) breed of sheep, and whenever I see him on the farm at the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Queens Zoo, I am amazed by the array of shapes, sizes, and behaviors that are exhibited by animals throughout the world. Even amongst a single domestic species such as sheep, there is a tremendous variety in coats, sizes, and yes, horns.
Queens Zoo is a wonderful place to enjoy seeing a variety of heritage breeds of domestic animals that are worth conserving just as we work to protect wildlife in our zoos and across the globe.