Dall’s Sheep

Ovis dalli

About 100,000 years ago the ancestors of the wild sheep of North America crossed the Bering “Land Bridge” that once connected what is now North West Alaska and Siberia. Humans did not make this trip until 10,000–35,000 years ago. Actions of nature related to ice ages divided the herds of wild sheep into two different ice-free regions: those in the north region evolved into the thinhorn sheep, while those in the southern region evolved into bighorns.

Characteristics

Dall’s sheep are immediately recognizable by their white coats and distinctive horns. The rams have massive, backward curling horns that take eight years to reach a full circle. The ewes have short, slender spiked horns with only a slight curl. Another thinhorn similar to Dall’s is the larger Stone’s sheep (Ovis dalli stonei) which may be found in northern BC. It is only white in the rump, belly, and inside of legs while its body coat is very dark…

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