Things have been a little too furry around here lately, so we decided to break our months long mammal streak and post a bird this week. Keep an eye out for even more dinosaurs in the coming weeks.
Posts for category ‘New Specimen’
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.
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
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.
We have our second round of weekly addition—Golden Eagle. Birds are generally difficult to scan because they have narrow beaks and jugals (rod-shaped bones of the cheek), as well as thin bones that let laser pass through. This specimen was one of the easiest birds ever to scan. It is large enough but not too large as in the Brown Pelican skull that took two days to complete. It is relatively robust snouted, unlike the Common Loon skull that took another two days. A problem did surface, however, when I tried to lower the resolution of the model so that it can be transmitted over the Internet–a part of the beak started to disappear and spikes appeared. So the WireFusion model ended up with a relatively high-res beak and a low-res skull. 3DCT did a fiar job reducing the resolution without losing too much details.
We have our first weekly addition to the original set of specimens—Coyote Puppy. It is a cute skull. What made it difficult to scan was the canines that curve more steeply than in adults. Incisors were also difficult, as usual. As a result, these teeth are not as accurately reconstructed as the rest. We will have an adult Coyote skull on display in several weeks—you will be suruprised to see how different yet similar it is to this skull.