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musk deer

musk deer, small, antlerless deer, Moschus moschiferus, found in wet mountain forests from Siberia and Korea to the Himalayas. In summer it ranges up to 8,000 ft (2,400 m). It is from 20 to 24 in. (50–60 cm) high at the shoulder, with a brown coat, a pointed face, and large ears. The male has tusklike upper canine teeth curving down and backwards from the sides of the mouth, and a musk gland, called the pod, in the skin of the abdomen. Destruction of the animal for musk, which is used in perfume, has greatly reduced its numbers, and it has been exterminated in part of its range. It is classified in the phylum Chordata, subphylum Vertebrata, class Mammalia, order Artiodactyla, family Cervidae.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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