What is the only mammal born with two horns?

Answered by Cody Janus

The only mammal that is born with two horns is the giraffe. These horns, called ossicones, are present in both male and female giraffes at birth. It’s fascinating to note that these horns are not actually attached to the skull at first. They lie flat against the head to avoid any injury during the birthing process.

The ossicones of a newborn giraffe are relatively small and soft, making them flexible and less likely to cause harm. This design allows the giraffe to be born without any complications or risk of injury from the protruding horns. As the giraffe grows and develops, the ossicones gradually start to fuse with the skull.

The function of the ossicones in giraffes goes beyond just providing a unique physical characteristic. They also play a role in sexual dimorphism, which is the differentiation between males and females. In most cases, male giraffes have larger and more developed ossicones compared to females. This difference in size helps distinguish between the two sexes.

Additionally, the ossicones serve as a form of defense and weaponry for male giraffes. They use their necks and heads as powerful weapons during fights, swinging their long necks and delivering powerful blows with their ossicones. The ossicones, along with their long necks, provide male giraffes with an advantage in establishing dominance and securing mating opportunities.

Having had the opportunity to witness giraffes up close during my travels, I can attest to the impressiveness of these ossicones. It’s truly remarkable to see how these seemingly delicate structures can later become such powerful and defining features of the giraffe’s appearance.

The giraffe is the only mammal born with two horns, known as ossicones. These ossicones lie flat and are not attached to the skull at birth to ensure a safe delivery. As the giraffe matures, the ossicones gradually fuse with the skull, becoming an integral part of its distinct physical characteristics.