This is the skull of an domestic dog (Canis familiaris). Dogs were domesticated over 10,000 years ago and today there are over 300 different breeds around the world. Despite this variation, the skeletons of all dogs show many similarities with their wild relatives, wolves and coyotes.
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This is the skull of an opossum (Didelphis virginiana). These animals are usually around 9-13 lbs and just under two feet long. They also have a hairless prehensile tail that aids in climbing and carrying objects. They have unique prints as their rear feet have opposable “thumbs”. The phrase “playing possum” comes from these animals, when faced with a threat they will sometimes feign death and even excrete a fluid that has a putrid odor.
We have another sample from the Common Dolphin Delphinus delphis specimen. This is the scapula (shoulder blade) of the animal. Compare this to the scapula of the Cougar and the Brown Pelican and see the remarkable variation. Think about how life in different environments (ocean, land, and air respectively) could lead to this variation.
This week we have the otic capsule of the Common Dolphin Delphinus delphis. The otic capsule is the section of the skull that surrounds the inner ear. This is part of the Dolphin’s famous echolocation system with which the dolphin can “see” with sound. This system acts very much like active sonar on submarines.
Staying with are vertebrate streak we present the humerus of one of two species of Common Dolphin Delphinus delphis. Common Dolphins (aka Saddleback Dolphins), are aquatic carnivours mammals that feed primarily on fish. They are highly social animals and travel in groups of 10-50 and have been spotted in schools of over 1000. They, like their Bottlenose cousins, are also extremely fast swimmers reaching speeds of around 40km/hour.
We continue our streak of cephalic mammalian updates with the skull of a —Muskrat. Muskrats, as their name would imply, are members of the rodent order, however they are not a species of rat. These animals are medium sized (0.7-1.8 kg) and semi-aquatic. They are native to North American but have invaded much of Europe and Asia. They get their name from an odor they produce from two scent glands that they use to mark their territory.
We hope everyone had a great holiday season which we are celebrating with our first addition of the new year —Sea Otter. Sea Otters are a species of marine mammal and are the largest member of the weasel family. They live near the shoreline feeding on sea urchins, molluscs, crustaceans and fish. These animals are one of the few species of animals that use tools as they use rocks to crack open the shells of their prey. Sea Otters are one of the few marine mammals that do not have a layer of blubber to protect themselves from the cold water, instead they fluff their thick fur to trap an insulating layer of air within similar to styrofoam.
We have our sixth round of weekly additions—Mule Deer. Mule Deer an extremelly abundant herbivorous ungulate found primarily in Western North America. These animals can live in a wide variety of habitats and persist on a diet of grasses and shrubs. The males, like this example, are highly territorial and grow antlers for display and competition in the breeding season.
We have our fifth round of weekly additions—Bottlenose Dolphin. Bottlenose Dolphins are fully aquatic oceanic mammals and are closely related to porpoises and whales. These animals are highly intelligent and have even been trained to locate sea mines and divers. Bottlenoses use a form of sonar called echolocation to stalk their prey which consists mainly of small fish crustaceans and squid. These animals are cosmopolitan across the worlds oceans.
We have our fourth round of weekly additions—Duck-billed Platypus. The Platypus is an extremelly interesting creature to scientists: it has numerous mammalian characters such as mammary glands and fur, yet it lays eggs, like birds and reptiles. The Platypus and all of the Echidna species make up a group called Monotremata which is the sister group to all other mammals (including marsupials). The Platypus can be found up and down the eastern coast of Australia
Welcome back to the Silhouette Quiz!
The image on the left is a silhouette of one of our specimens on display. Can you tell what it is? It is not an alien head or a ceratopsian skull.
If you know what it is, tell us the answer using the form below. Whoever sends us the correct answer first will have her/his name displayed in our “Silhouette Quiz Hall of Fame”.
Thank you for the response to Silhouette Quiz #1. The answer was the Brown Pelican skull viewed from front. We admit that we were too eager to make it difficult but we did get correct answers.
The winner was Henry Le, with Quan Nguyen coming in the second. Congratulations! Your names are in the Silhouette Quiz Hall of Fame.
We have our third round of weekly addition—Prasopora simulatrix. Bryozoans are a diverse group of marine invertebrates that have existed since the Ordovician. These animals filter food particles out of the water using a structure called a lophophore. This structure is also found in the Brachipods This particular specimen is an early form from the Ordovician and is actually a colony composed of numerous individuals.
Thank you for waiting. You can now see 3D models again. We are using a backup server to enable 3D model viewing.
We experienced a large number of page views starting at about 11:50, much more than we expected. As a result, the server for 3D files is currently not distributing 3D models. We are working to solve this problem so please bear with us.