Follow us on FacebookFollow us on TwitterFollow us on FlickrFollow us on YouTubeFollow us on PinterestFollow us on Instagram

The Making of a Diorama

The Habitat Views video considers ways of looking at dioramas today, and documents the creation of several new displays. Take a look over on our  YouTube channel >

Do Dolphins Have Hair?

Our mammal researchers answer this and other questions on our Mammalogy FAQs page.
Learn more >

Recreating Nature Indoors

Ever wonder who made the dioramas in our mammal halls? Read all about the artists who created these wonderful scenes. Learn more >

Museum Scientists on Evolution

The Natural History Museum, with its mission to inspire wonder, discovery, and responsibility, recognizes that evolutionary biology is fundamental to understanding biological diversity and is critical for both scientific research and museums. The Museum welcomes people of all beliefs and backgrounds to join us as we explore, through science, the wonders of the natural world.

To see our Evolution Statement in full, click here


Musk ox

Ovibos moschatus (Zimmermann, 1780)

Musk ox diorama in the North American Mammal Hall


 Fosheim Peninsula, Ellesmere Island, Canada


 Mr. and Mrs. Hugh H. Logan

Background artist:

 Duncan Alanson Spencer

The musk ox is noted for its thick coat and for the strong odor of the male. Musk oxen have a distinctive defensive behavior in which the males, facing outward, will form a stationary ring around the females and young.

Musk ox wool is highly prized by the Inuit for its softness, length and insulative value.

Biological Information

Range map for the musk ox


Alaska, northern Canada, Greenland, Russia


Arctic tundra


Near extinction at the end of the 19th Century but now protected in Canada and populations re-established in Alaska, Greenland and Russia


Grasses and sedges in summer; also lichens, browse such as crowberry, cowberry and willow in winter

Further information about this species may be found on the Animal Diversity Web page for musk ox.