Tetrapod Zoology

Archives for November, 2008

My mummified fox

I think everyone seriously interested in animals collects dead animals, or bits of dead animals. Over the years I’ve built up a reasonably good collection of bones, teeth, antlers and carcasses, most of which are used ‘academically’ (in teaching and research) and not just kept for fun. Some of the specimens I have are amazing,…

Another one from the archives, and another one from my rodent phase of 2006 (originally published here): despite efforts, I was simply unable to even scratch the surface of what is the largest extant mammalian ‘Order’. Where appropriate I’ve added updates and have uploaded new images. Though new rodents are described from all over the…

Ifrita the poisonous passerine

Back in 2006 I took part in the ‘ten birds’ meme. If infected (do people normally speak of being ‘infected’ by memes?), you were supposed to write about ten birds that you found ‘beautiful’. I decided to distort it slightly and make the birds the ten that I found most ‘beautifully interesting’. Here’s one of…

From the archives! One of the most unusual and interesting of amphibians has to be the Olm (Proteus anguinus), an unusual long-bodied cave-dwelling salamander from SE Europe [adjacent image from the Devon Karst Research Society]. Olms were the first specialised cave-dwelling animals (so-called stygobionts or troglobites) to be discovered, they were traditionally identified as dragon…

Belatedly, Nemoramjetia (= Avisapiens)

I’ve been so busy over the past several weeks that I’ve totally failed to keep up with several of my favourite blogs. One of them is Andrea Cau’s Theropoda, written in Italian but translatable into English thanks to the wonder of google’s translator widget (incidentally, my grandmother on my dad’s side was Italian). The amount…

The tangled mammoths

It’s reasonably well known that fighting male deer are sometimes unable to extricate themselves after tangling their antlers together. Mammoths – which had more strongly curved tusks that living elephants – sometimes had a similar problem, as demonstrated by the famous fighting mammoths from Crawford, Sioux County, Nebraska…

The ‘python bites fence’ photo

I would not like to be bitten by an African rock python Python sebae. Here’s why.

Another book review. I’ve had a lot of them to do lately. The idea that feathers decorated and insulated the bodies of the small bird-like predatory dinosaurs of the Jurassic and Cretaceous – the coelurosaurs – is no longer a speculation limited to controversial artwork, but the mainstream view [for background info see Feathers and…

We all know that many birds feed their young. Nowadays, many of us are also familiar with the idea that hadrosaurs and other dinosaurs might also have fed their young. Far less well known is the possibility that crocodilians may do this too, at least sometimes. As with those fruit-eating alligators, I have John Brueggen…

Super-size cougars

Knowing that members of a certain species sometimes reach a certain size is not always the same as actually seeing images of that certain species at that certain size. The Puma, Cougar or Mountain lion Puma concolor (other names include panther, painter, catamount, mountain devil, silver lion, brown tiger, red tiger, king cat, Indian devil,…