Tetrapod Zoology

Archives for June, 2010

All too few people seem to realise that birds have hands*; it’s just that these parts of the body are – normally – mostly obscured from view by the feathers. While the main role of the bird hand is to support remiges (the big wing feathers), less well known is that many birds possess claws,…

Good, non-technical books on anatomy are rare; good, non-technical books on avian anatomy are just about non-existent. Gary Kaiser’s The Inner Bird: Anatomy and Evolution stands out as one of a kind – it is not brand-new (having been published in 2007), but still has yet to be widely recognised as the valuable piece of…

A lurking humanoid, in the woods

This could be an opportunity to say something really smart and interesting, or it could be an excuse for silliness. I leave you, my wise readers, to decide…

Over the weekend my family and I visited Amazon World Zoo Park on the Isle of Wight. I saw tons of new stuff and had a great time, but what might have been my favourite creature is one that would have been all but ignored by the vast majority of visitors. I’m talking about the…

More waterfowl weirdness… Most waterfowl can walk fine on land, and the majority of species are pretty agile in terms of their terrestrial abilities. But some species are so specialised for life on water, and have their legs placed so far back on their bodies, that any terrestrial abilities are poor, if not hilarious. One…

Another waterfowl fact. This one is gonna be brief. In the previous article we looked at the wing spurs of Plectropterus. They’re pretty cool, but they’re far from unique, and even more incredible are the much larger, dagger-like spikes seen in screamers…

Yesterday we looked briefly at goose digestion. Pretty incredible stuff, I’m sure you’ll agree. Hey: wouldn’t it be weird if some waterfowl were poisonous? Yeah, wouldn’t it. Well… guess what?

I’ve just been writing about waterfowl for the day job. Which is fine, because waterfowl are among my favourite animals (as if that isn’t obvious from Tet Zoo… what, you mean it isn’t obvious?). Entirely because they’re on my mind at the moment, here is the first of several, entirely random waterfowl facts…

I said in the freaky giraffoid Barosaurus article that I had one last thing to say on the ‘demonic Quetzalcoatlus‘ meme. It’s pretty incredible. Yes, world, I give you: an actual skeleton of a real ‘demonic Quetzalcoatlus‘. Well, a published drawing of one, anyway…

The most inconvenient seal

How the hell did seals get into Lake Baikal? Actually, if you’re a long-time reader you’ll know the answers that have been put forward (note there that I didn’t say “you’ll know the answer”), as I covered this issue back in 2006 on Tet Zoo ver 1. In the interests of recycling old stuff and…