On Friday, October 11th, I visited the Museum of Zoology for the second time. It was another exhilarating adventure filled with photographing skulls, connecting jaws to skulls, examining and feeling animal skins and even a photo op with a full-sized grizzly bear!
I spent several hours in the lab and was given permission to take the skulls from storage and reattach the jaws that are stored separately from the larger animal skulls. The specimens made available to me were: rhino, giraffe, red panda, lemur, gorilla, bobcat and zebra. I observed the huge opening where the rhino’s horn would have been found. Poaching has escalated in many places and continues to put them at risk of extinction. To imagine a rhino roaming freely in the wild only to be cut down by a poacher who chops its horn from its head for monetary reward is disheartening.
The giraffe skull revealed the two horn like structures called ossicones. Female ossicones are smaller and have a small tuft of fur on top, while male ossicones are bald on top and sometimes used to fight other male giraffes. The gender of the specimen observed was unknown. Young giraffes have porous ossicones. The specimen reveals the porosity of the horns with the skin and fur no longer attached.
I examined and touched several animal furs. To be able to examine these up close and to fully experience the textures and colors is a helpful resource for painting. I learned that people can tell what season some animals have died based on how much and how soft their fur is. This explains why they are more vulnerable to hunting during the winter seasons when their furs are at their thickest and fullest.