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Thorn Beasts are used as food by the Covenant, and Jiralhanae in particular. They appear to be docile herd animals, and may have been domesticated for consumption. Their neck and head contain high concentrations of neurotoxins, likely a defensive adaptation against predators that go for the head or neck to kill. While they are found on planets other than Doisac, their popularity among Jiralhanae may show that they inhabit a variety of worlds, perhaps transplanted there by the Forerunners' after the Halo Array activated.
Thorn Beasts were originally meant to appear in Halo: Combat Evolved, but were cut from the final game. They were also originally meant to appear in Halo Wars. The game developers stated that they would have reacted to units and battles around them. In the videos however, they merely ran away from units, not battles; if there was a bombing next to it, it wouldn't have flinched. However, since the videos were made as the game was still in development, this lack of a reaction may have been changed for a more real gaming experience if the creature would have made the final cut. Its first canonical appearance was in Halo: Contact Harvest, where it is consumed by a Jiralhanae pack. In the book Contact Harvest, it is described that Thorn beast is served back up showing its five spikes and its legs splayed though the head and neck is cut off (due to the high amount of neurotoxins).
- In Halo: Contact Harvest, it supposedly gets its name from the five "thorns" that ridge its back.
- Because they are served as food, it is a possibility that they were kept at the agricultural ship Infinite Succor and perhaps the deranged, half infected creature seen by the Spec Ops Elites moments before being consumed by the Flood, was in fact a Thorn Beast.
- The Thorn Beast's entrails could be reduced into dipping sauces.
- Jiralhanae seem especially partial for the animal. Chieftain Maccabeus enjoyed eating the ball of muscle under the smallest of the five thorns that ridge its back when it was properly prepared, and the Brute Army Commander enjoyed it immensely, saying that it was "both an appetizer and dessert". Given the Jiralhanae's enjoyment of the animal, it may be native to Doisac.
- The Thorn Beasts were going to be rideable creatures for marines before they were cut for A.I issues.
- When the Jiralhanae vessel Valorous Salvation landed on Beta Gabriel and the Jiralhanae began hunting the humans there, it was noted that one Brute named Brother Golubus came close to making the fatter humans taste like Thorn Beast.
- In Halo Wars, the Thorn Beast was mentioned in the Halo Wars Timeline. It involves a Jiralhanae complaining about his Thorn Beast being underdone and his dipping sauce not being made correctly, resulting in a couple of Grunts being killed in his fury.