Sorry I haven't had time to internet lately. If this post seems ridiculous and slightly more random than usual, blame birds. I like birds. I really do. But their personal care and well-being is next to the definition of impossible. They are black holes that will drain all your time and resources and should come with warning labels because I pay taxes, darn it, and my government is totally dropping the ball.
Whatever strange google search drove you here, (Or maybe you have strong opinions on the Late Pleistocene, how am I to know what goes on in that head?) I'm looking at some big cats. Because the internet needed more cats on it. Let me list the ways:
The bear skull on the right belonged to a 3 year old female black bear. The bear skull on the left was a quite old grizzly who died in a zoo. Here's the thing, and I cannot think of a better way to illustrate the point other than laying them out side by side: Give or take a million-or-so years ago - these bears were the same size. The Pleistocene was freakin' huge.
But neither of them could put a dent in a giant short faced bear. Not only was it twice the size of a brown bear, (Think of a grizzly or Kodiak bear and then double it,) It was also built for speed. You only had to worry about running into a giant short faced bear if you lived on the North American continent during the Pleistocene, but if you met, there is a high probability that running would definitely be involved.
Sticking with the Pleistocene theme, brown bears with us today first appeared in Asia and then spread to North America and Europe. Not without a sense of irony, they would have passed by the giant pandas who first appeared in Europe during the late Miocene and then made their way to eastern Asia during the Pleistocene.
American black bears are eating machines and are mostly vegetarian. However, shy vegetarians don't get a lot of press, so let's not forget the fact that nature equipped the Black Bear with a pretty powerful set of teeth and claws.
Sketches coming soon. Soon!
The evolution of the horse as only the Country Gentleman in 1920s America can showcase! An alert reader from Illinois sent us this BRILLIANT page from the glory days of gigantic publications. (Back in the day, Sunday funnies filed an entire page, and magazines like the Country Gentleman were 11 x 14 inches/ 28 x 35.5 cm.)
It was a dark and heavy time for postal workers.
A publication like this would set you back a whole 5 cents in the 1920s, but it was full of great nuggets. Such as, if you were particularly unbothered by trying to pronounce “Przhevalski’s Horse,” (Prezwalski’s Horse) the Country Gentleman makes it easy on you. Provided you can sneeze.
This Eohippus shows the classic case of forest-horse rounded spine. As the magazine says, compare its skeleton to that of the draft/draught horse skeleton. Eohippus had four toes on each forefoot and three on each hind foot, with each toe ending in a small hoof. The foot had a pad in the center, (think of a dog) that carried most of the animal's weight. This pad has become the small growth on the back of the fetlock called the ergot on the modern horse. The Eohippus teeth munched on shrubbery as well. There are historic horses, and prehistoric horses. An Eohippus is definitely in the latter category.
Thanks for the sweet mail! The Country Gentleman and those who put it together had some fun with this page, as you can tell. Keep it coming, you legendary nerds!
As anyone who lives among coyotes can tell you, its a master of adaptation. Coyotes have flourished in part by exploiting the changes that people have made to the environment, but their adaptability goes back further than that.
Let's look at the coyote's skull. For a closer look at coyote skull anatomy, you can see Skullduggery here.
If you dial back 6 million years ago, (And for the record, that's not that long ago, our ancestors were just parting with chimps then,) carnivores had a lot of competition. If you jump through the various ice ages, you'll note that our modern coyotes are puny, fun sized creatures compared to their ancestors.
The wake of the climatic changes that began about 6 million years ago benefited those of the lupine lineage. The world was drying out. Forest was being replaced by scrub and savanna. The opening up of grassy plains and the prey that prospered on them also provided opportunity for fast, long legged predators.
But that doesn't mean the whole climate change thing working well for everyone. Those larger prey animals, including megafauna, are dying off.
VONHOLDT, B. M., POLLINGER, J. P., EARL, D. A., KNOWLES, J. C., BOYKO, A. R., PARKER, H., GEFFEN, E., PILOT, M., JEDRZEJEWSKI, W., JEDRZEJEWSKA, B., SIDOROVICH, V., GRECO, C., RANDI, E., MUSIANI, M., KAYS, R., BUSTAMANTE, C. D., OSTRANDER, E. A., NOVEMBRE, J. AND WAYNE, R. K.A genome-wide perspective on the evolutionary history of enigmatic wolf-like canidsIn-text: (vonHoldt et al.)
Bibliography: vonHoldt, Bridgett M. et al. 'A Genome-Wide Perspective On The Evolutionary History Of Enigmatic Wolf-Like Canids'. Genome Research 21.8 (2011): 1294-1305. Web. 24 Nov. 2015.
Have you ever come across a skull and wondered what it was? You can learn answers by asking questions and finding clues. *Note. I am assuming a certain level of understanding with the following pictures and text. If you have questions, you can always ask. That's how lessons work.
"What clues am I looking for?"
Start asking a series of questions.
Inspecting a skull
Let's play Sherlock. If you want the full image collection of this skull, you can see Skullduggery here.
Looking at the skull, we can quickly learn a few facts. We know its teeth tell us it eats a varied, omnivorous diet. We know that it's smaller than a wolf. We know that it's eyes point forward. (As the saying goes: "Eyes in the front, the animal hunts. Eyes on the side, the animal hides.")
Nicely done! Skullduggery was a normal, healthy coyote. Until he wasn't. Best of luck with all your skull identifying adventures. Be safe out there!
PS: Creative Commons Zero. As in free. As in, do whatever you want. If these images can help you draw, learn, lesson plan, and, whatever commercially you're using a photo of a coyote skull for: knock yourself out. I really don't have time to answer every image request, so know please you have permission, and I'm happy you found something useful here. Cheers!
Puma concolor probably takes the prize for the most variety of names. Mountain lion, puma, American panther, ghost cat, cougar, yeah, they’re all the same thing. If you’re still dropping “Catamount” then you are probably not invited to many dinner parties.
There are actually more than 80 names for the biggest of the small cats. No doubt, due in many ways to their adaptable nature. These kitties are the model of success, with evolution endowing them with the tools to thrive from the Yukon to Patagonia.
A cougar will typically kill a deer/moose/whatever other large critter about 2 times a month. If the cat is living on smaller prey, obviously, it will be hunting more often. These cats aren’t terribly picky eaters, which is not a bad thing in survival terms.
As carnivores go, felids in general have a relatively small number of teeth. If you’ve ever watched your housecat eat, it can’t really chew that well. Their teeth are better suited to tearing and cutting.
Chances are, if you are in one of the Americas, that you’ve been close to a Mountain Lion, and you just didn’t know it. They are solitary ninja-jedi-007-masters who happen to operate most efficiently at dawn and dusk. Crepuscular is the 5-dollar word for that sort of behavior.
Mountain lions don’t actually roar, but they are otherwise rather vocal cats when they want to be. They are known to whistle, scream, purr, yowl, and squeak. Females are actually pretty well known for this “Song of love.” https://youtu.be/pxo8X5uIWRE
Citations sound better when you read them in your best LeVar Burton voice. “But you don’t have to take my word for it.”
Special thanks to the SHSND A&HP.
Bradford, Alina Bradford. 'Pumas, Panthers & Cougars: Facts About America's Big Cats'. LiveScience.com. N.p., 2015. Web. 29 Oct. 2015.
STATUS OF MOUNTAIN LION MANAGEMENT IN NORTH DAKOTA, 2014. North Dakota Game and Fish Department, 2014. Web. 29 Oct. 2015.
Parliamentary of Owls. Mountain Lion Screaming. 2015. https://youtu.be/pxo8X5uIWRE Web. 29 Oct. 2015.
Wozencraft, W.C. (2005). "Order Carnivora". In Wilson, D.E.; Reeder, D.M. Mammal Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference (3rd ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. pp. 544–45. ISBN 978-0-8018-8221-0.
Despite my husband's objections, I am often found with the possession of skulls and other bones. It's all pretty self-explanatory, really.
Canis Latrans, if you want to get uppity about it, is one of my North American favorites. Adaptable. Problem solving. Top-down management style of the rodent population. What's not to like here? Coyotes will even hybridize with domestic dogs and occasionally with wolves. Although, if we're honest, when a wolf and a coyote meet, it usually doesn't end well for the coyote.
In evolutionary terms, the coyote is a survivor. His ancestors were bigger than we see him today. If you like the company of your barn cats, that's probably not such a bad thing.
Nobody thinks this is funny but me. I don't get paid to do stuff like this, but I totally should.
PS: Don't go randomly picking up road kill, people. For many reasons. It stinks, is probably shattered beyond repair, and could make you really, really sick. You don't need that in your life, right? Right. Besides, you can use any of these images anytime you want. If you need a large resolution file for printing, all you gotta do is ask. I'll hook you up.
Be safe out there. Cheers!