One of my species called the Pinnokiins has a nose-like horn on their face. This horn also works as their equivalent of nipples. There is a milk gland connected to it, at least during the time when they use it to suckle their young. Would it technically still be a horn?

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Technically, what does "technically" mean? $\endgroup$
    – Daron
    Feb 16, 2022 at 14:42
  • $\begingroup$ Like scientifically speaking. @Daron $\endgroup$ Feb 16, 2022 at 15:53
  • $\begingroup$ But there is no such thing as a "horn-ologist". $\endgroup$
    – Daron
    Feb 16, 2022 at 15:57
  • $\begingroup$ @Daron not with that attitude! $\endgroup$
    – Topcode
    Feb 16, 2022 at 16:15
  • $\begingroup$ Are you asking if a dictionary of biological terms would describe a horn-like structure as a "horn"? That would be off-topic as it's biology/etymology or just plane opinion-based (to be fair, our biology stack might close it as off-topic because it's lacking in research). It's not clear at present what sort of answer you might be after, could you clarify a bit. $\endgroup$ Feb 16, 2022 at 19:20

3 Answers 3


Narwhal's horn is actually a tooth.

Goat horns are bones with keratin, like nail and hair, on top.

Rhino's horn is all keratin with no bone underneath.

So people call a horn whatever is sticking forward or up from the creature's head.

Problem with your design is that the offspring are small, and they cant reach high. So mammary glands are located close to the ground, so that the offspring can reach it. Horns are high up and are unprotected from the wind, sun, predators, which are all harsh conditions for the offspring.

  • $\begingroup$ unless it's bone covered in velvet in which case they call it an antler (especially if it sheds annually), but there never was a rule in English without its exception $\endgroup$
    – Tristan
    Feb 16, 2022 at 16:45
  • $\begingroup$ A rhino can lower its head to put it at the same level as the teats. Though an animal that relies on sight might not want to lower its head like that. $\endgroup$
    – Daron
    Feb 16, 2022 at 18:48
  • $\begingroup$ I think the spike on the end of the narwhal is usually called a tusk. Granted no one would be confused by calling it a horn. $\endgroup$
    – Daron
    Feb 16, 2022 at 18:49

It is of course called a milkhorn. The scientific name is cornu lacteum. When removed after death of the animal, milkhorns look like this. They are calciferous structures made of a substance similar to the shells of mollusks.

Due to the fact that the Pinnokiins are an endangered species, these horns are now very rare and expensive. In fact they are endangered precisely because people want these horns. Firstly their pure white appearance makes for a wonderful ornament. Also, in some cultures, they are used by sentient creatures for pleasurable activities that I shall not describe here. enter image description here

In our everyday world of Earth, the nearest thing we have in appearance is the natural white clam shell as shown below.

... enter image description here

  • $\begingroup$ Roll the drums "horns for horny people" ba dum tss $\endgroup$
    – Drien RPG
    Feb 16, 2022 at 23:34

Well it depends if the structure's core is made out of bone. If the structure does have core made of bone then it is a horn, even if it has a mammary gland. If there is no bony core then the closest thing it would be is a really specialized nail.(I am going by the dictionary definition of a horn)


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