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Thread: Antlers: Part 1

  1. #1

    Antlers: Part 1

    Will go into some detail about growth/casting of antlers as will attempt to shed light on some abnormalities later.
    Deer born reach puberty grow pedicles from which antlers grow/cast seasonally.

    Cycle starts about 1/4 way through gestation with an initial surge of testosterone in foetus leading to antlerogenic tissue development on the frontal bones from which the pedicles originate. These subsequently develop antlers at appropriate time.

    The start of the cycle is bodyweight dependent. Well grown start gonadal activity earlier.pedicles grow initially. Roe buck kids can develop button antlers ( button bucks ) at 7/8 months. Cast in December then go into normal cycle. On the first occasion the skin over the the pedicles changes into velvet and antlers grow from the blastema ( ? stem cells ). In the following years when antlers are cast no scar tissue is formed as the blastema heals over with velvet from which antlers grow. Each year's antlers grow with increasing complexity characteristic to that species of deer until maturity then gradually go back.

    Hormonal control is light /darkness dependent. Light on the retina changes into electrical impulses which act on the pineal gland ( third eye ) to produce Melatonin which actually reaches peak levels during hours of darkness. Longer darkness higher levels of melatonin.
    This in turn acts on the pituitary gland to produce Prolactin in high levels which inhibits testosterone production. More light less darkness Melatonin levels go down followed by depression of Prolactin and testosterone levels increase initiating the development of velvet forming antlers. These grow until testosterone concentration rises high enough for mineralisation of the antlers and the velvet dies off and is rubbed off.Hard antlers. These persist until increasing darkness leads to more Melatonin production followed by elevation of Prolactin levels which depresses testosterone concentration and when drops below 1.9 ng/ml the antlers are cast. Followed by healing with velvet and cycle repeated .
    In short day breeders (Reds, fallow, Sika ) Prolactin depresses testosterone production. however in long day breeders ( Roe ) Prolactin enhances the action of testosterone. Note this point as will come back to it at later stage.

    Anyone wishing to comment or query have posted Antlers: Part one post .separately as lot more to come

  2. #2

    Antlers: Part one posts

    Comments queries page Just so reference article doesn't get chopped up.

  3. #3
    Interesting piece on antlers Morena, keep them coming.

  4. #4
    Nice one morena

    as basil has said .. very interesting

    Looking forward to second part


  5. #5
    If a deer with Perugue antlers survives the year, do the antlers fall off and grow as Perugue antlers the next year?

  6. #6
    hi basil,
    As the perrugue develops due to lack of testosterone it just goes on growing. As explained in previous post the velvet keeps on growing until it covers the area around the antlers over the eyes etc starvation. It could be called a sarcinoma ( type of cancer ) which does not spread to other parts of the body In the summer damage to this and the blow flies move in, end of story.Roe perruques have minimal calcification ( mainly soft tissue ) In the original post I illustrated the position of the Roe head as it goes through the undergrowth. Architectural adaption ??? Hence easily damaged velvet.
    Off topic under freak heads the explanation for all the bizarre antler shapes seen is also in the posts. Anyone seeking a fuller explanation pm me or post.
    Last edited by morena; 11-05-2012 at 18:25.

  7. #7
    Example. [ Forest and Wildlife Museum , Horsholm , Denmark . ]
    Distortion of noses in photos caused by wide-angle lense.


  8. #8

  9. #9
    Another peruque buck. One of my Dad's. Its not the biggest I guess, but still very nice trophy.



  10. #10
    Example of button buck Roe in skin

    Boiled skull. Note on this first occasion there is no coronet. This is also the case in Muntjac

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