Moschidae introduction

Family Moschidae

The Moschidae (musk deer; 1 Genus, 6 species) resemble oversized chevrotains (Tragulidae) rather than true deer (Cervidae). Like tragulids, the moschids are hornless (other families possess horns or antlers), and the males have large upper canines instead.

Musk deer have a small body size with a weight of ~11 kg and are widely distributed in Asia. They lived in ecotone habitats, prefer cold climate and are browsers eating fruits, shoots, and leaves.

Adult males of all musk deer species possess a gland in their abdomen which secrets a pungent, waxy substance called musk - hence the common name "musk deer". This musk has been highly prized as a base for perfumes, soaps, and medicinal preparations.

Using fossil calibrations, we estimated the emergence of Moschidae at ~23 Mya. This family has no domestic animals.


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The Moschidae Family Tree