Also known as the American antelope, and second only to the cheetah for maximum speed, the pronghorn can easily out-sprint most predators at speeds as high as 60 miles per hour. Native to North America, it's also known as a pronghorn antelope, although technically it's not an old-world antelope. Actual antelopes are quite fast as well, but not as fast as the pronghorn.
It's a lot quicker than the predators which inhabit North America. This seems to indicate that it evolved its great speed at some point in the past under the threat of a now-extinct predator, perhaps the American cheetah which existed during the Pleistocene epoch.
The pronghorn has a number of special features that allow it to run at high speeds, including cushioned, pointed toes to absorb shock, and extra-large organs that assist with oxygen intake.
Prior to the arrival of the Europeans, the pronghorn was particularly abundant in the region of the Plains Indians and the region of the indigenous people of the Northwest Plateau and was hunted as a principal food source by the local tribes. The antelope has also featured prominently in Native American mythology and oral history.
The scientific name of the pronghorn is Antilocapra americana. Although first seen and described by Spanish explorers in the 16th century, the species was not formally recorded or scrutinized until the 1804–1806 expedition by Captain Meriwether Lewis and Second Lieutenant William Clark. Following the discovery of a few subspecies of the sharp-tailed grouse, Lewis and Clark came across the pronghorn near the mouth of the Niobrara River, in present-day Nebraska. Clark was the first European to kill a pronghorn.
Pronghorns have distinct white fur on their rumps, sides, breasts, bellies, and across their throats. Adult males are 4 ft 3 in–4 ft 11 inches long from nose to tail, stand 32–41 inches high at the shoulder, and weigh 88–143 lb. The females are the same height as males, but weigh 75–106 lb. The feet have two hooves, with no dewclaws. Their body temperature is 100 °F.
The pronghorn is the fastest land mammal in the Western Hemisphere, being built for maximum predator evasion through running. The top speed is dependent upon the length of time over which it is measured. It can run 35 mph for 4 minutes, 42 mph for 1 minute, and 55 mph for 0.5 minutes. While it is often cited as the second-fastest land animal, second only to the African cheetah, it can sustain high speeds longer than cheetahs. University of Idaho zoologist John Byers has suggested the pronghorn evolved it running ability to escape from now-extinct predators, such as the American cheetah, since its speed greatly exceeds that of all extinct North American predators. Compared to its body size, the pronghorn has a large windpipe, heart, and lungs to allow it to take in large amounts of air when running. Additionally, pronghorn hooves have two long, cushioned, pointed toes which help absorb shock when running at high speeds. They also have and extremely light bone structure and hollow hair.
From Mr. Food
Looking for a sweet and cozy way to welcome fall? We've got something that might help; our Hayride Pumpkin Squares are a perfect combination of pumpkin, cinnamon, and childhood memories! Picking fall apples, visiting the pumpkin patch, or making delicious desserts with loved ones, if this recipe wasn't part of your childhood, remember it's never too late to start sharing in the..."OOH IT'S SO GOOD!!"
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 4 eggs
- 1 (15-ounce) can pure pumpkin (not pie filling)
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract