biology zoology blog benno meyer rochow flat animals

DEAD FLAT

Two-dimensional animals that won’t move

In New Zealand we are supposed to have about 100 x 106 possums (Trichosaurus vulpecula). But if one asks some of the foreign visitors to New Zealand, if they had seen any possums in the wild, they will answer “Only some on the roads, run over by cars”. Such comments reminded me of my stays in Australia, where the only spiny anteater (Tachyglossus aculeatus) outside a zoo, which I had ever encountered, was a flat, dried up carcass on a road leading to Melbourne. And when one day in northern Finland on the carpark in front of her kindergarten my little daughter pointed to a dry and flat, pancake-like thing (which had once been a toad), I thought by myself, I ought to write a book about animals flattened by cars and lorries. Yet, as I learned when embarking on the project, such an identification guide to animals killed on roads, streets, and highways already existed. —>—>

biology zoology blog benno meyer rochow wings

Reductions and Concentrations

Advantages of having less

One of the most frequent comments I have to scribble on the margin of my students’ essays, assignments and reports is “condense” or “shorten and compress”. It’s exactly what evolution has done (via the survival of the fittest) with certain organs and structures of the animal body. In a way it’s the opposite of what I had written in a different blog about duplications and repetitive structural elements (the million of identical nephrons in the kidney come to mind, the hundreds of identical legs in some millipedes ring a bell and even the dozens of identical teeth in the mouths of dolphins may be remembered). Therefore, how about the opposite? It’s actually easier to find examples for reductions of structural entities in animals and we can almost use examples from the same animal groups mentioned earlier in connection with duplications. —>—>

biology zoology blog benno meyer rochow horse painting

Who Depicted Walking Horses More Accurately: prehistoric or modern artists ?

I’m not at all a great rider and have tried to avoid sitting in the saddle as much as possible. Why? because I’m a little scared of horses for I was once bitten in the face by a horse when I was a child (yes “bitten”, not kicked: horses can and do bite sometimes). However, that doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate paintings or photographs of horses and in fact, both of my daughters in Finland were members of a riding club. —>—>