bighorn or Rocky Mountain sheep, wild sheep of W North America, formerly plentiful in mountains from Canada to Mexico. Indiscriminate hunting, disease, and scarcity of food have reduced its numbers, and in some areas it has been exterminated. It is a heavy, grayish brown animal, with a conspicuous whitish patch on its hindquarters; the male has heavy, curling horns, while the female has short, straight spikes. One type of bighorn lives at high altitudes in the W United States and another in desert regions. Alaskan types are the Dall's, or white, sheep and the Stone's, or black, sheep. Bighorn sheep are classified in the phylum Chordata, subphylum Vertebrata, class Mammalia, order Artiodactyla, family Bovidae.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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