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Competition for ewes is intense and often leads to fierce battles that can continue for a full day. During the battle two rams race at each other at speeds of up to 20 miles an hour, clashing their horns together. The skull of the bighorn sheep is double-layered to provide protection from these blows. Horn size is a significant factor in determining rank, and rams will only fight other rams with an equivalently sized horn. Mature males usually stay apart from the females and young. In these "bachelor flocks" the lower-ranking males often play the part of ewes and behave in a submissive manner toward the dominant males. The dominant male, in turn, behaves like a courting ram and mounts the lower-ranking male. This behavior is believed to enable the rams to live together without rank disputes that might otherwise drive the lower-ranking males out of the flock.
Bighorns can be found in the Rocky Mountains from Canada to Colorado and in the desert from California to west Texas and Mexico. They are threatened with extinction as a result of disease, habitat reduction, and hunting.
Clairemarie Fisher O'Leary was the production editor and project manager for this book. Steven Kleinedler copyedited, Kristin Barendsen and Kristine Simmons proofread, and Jane Ellin and Sheryl Avruch provided quality control reviews. Trisha Manoni, Sebastian Banker, and Kimo Carter provided production assistance. Seth Maislin wrote the index. The illustrations were created in Macromedia Freehand 7.0 by Robert Romano. Edie Freedman designed the cover, using a 19th-century engraving from the Dover Pictorial Archive. The cover layout was produced with Quark XPress 3.32 using the ITC Garamond font. The inside layout was designed by Edie Freedman and modified by Nancy Priest and implemented in FrameMaker by Mike Sierra. The text and heading fonts are ITC Garamond Light and Garamond Book. This colophon was written by Clairemarie Fisher O'Leary.
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