Curtin, Charles B. Department of Biology, Creighton University, Omaha, Nebraska.
Last reviewed:October 2019
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A ruminant, Rangifer tarandus, of the deer family, Cervidae. Caribou inhabit the Arctic region and have a circumpolar distribution. In Europe, caribou are called reindeer; in North America (Alaska and Canada), only the domestic forms are called reindeer. All caribou and reindeer throughout the world are considered to be the same species, although reindeer are slightly smaller. They have been domesticated for centuries and are economically important to the Laplanders, who use them as draft animals as well as for their skins, flesh, and milk. The Laplanders are nomadic people who migrate during the summer months with their herds from one feeding ground to another. See also: Artiodactyla; Deer
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