In this Edward Aldrich print a bull elk bellows out "A CALL TO THE RIVALS" that they are encroaching on his territory, and that any females near-by are already taken. Elk, like all members of the deer family, shed their antlers in the spring and grow new ones each year. The size of the antlers are indicative of the health of the animal. Since antlers are made of pure bone, they require huge amounts of calcium, especially when one considers that they grow these enormous racks in only 3-4 months. The elk that has the best diet can produce the most calcium. If their diet doesn't supply enough nutrition, the calcium is sourced internally, primarily from the rib cage. This weakens the animal, who then will be unable to defend himself or his territory against larger elk.
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