Wednesday, October 28, 2020

A Paleontologist Visits the Zoo

 As a paleontologist, I really like the skeletons of animals. And on a trip back in 2017 to the local Hogle Zoo in Salt Lake City, wasn't I surprised to find they had some fantastic displays of the skulls of the animals. I also tried to take accompanying shots of the animals but I figure I will probably need to get better shots. But overall I was excited. I also have some shots here from the local Living Planet Aquarium, which I also visited around the same time.

When you first walk in you are greeted by these giraffe statues, so why not start with the giraffe. 

Here's our giraffe friends. They actually have several giraffe skulls around the park.

Here is a large giraffe skull within the area where you can feed the giraffes.

And these two were embedded within the walls surrounding the giraffe enclosure.

They had these skull guides throughout the park as well. Here comparing the predator to the prey skulls of the African lion and zebras.

And for comparison, here is the real life lion.

And the real life zebra.

Moving on we have here the elephant skull. Which, on a side note, was mistaken for a cyclops skull back in ancient Greece days.

And the lovely owners of the same type of skull.

Some Bald Eagle pieces including the skull and the foot.

And the Bald Eagle themselves

The sea lion and the seal skulls. Now both of these animals are present at the zoon but they are rather difficult to get good pictures of because they are so quick.

Here's a close up shot of the sea lion's head.

And there's a shot with more of the sea lion's body.

And here is the seal.

Another shot of the seal.

They also had some skeletons hanging up. Here is the sea lion.

And the seal skeleton.

Moving on to the bears. Here is their display of the bear skulls. They didn't have any black bears that I saw so I just have photos of the grizzly and the polar bears.

Here is also a full model of the polar bear skull they had on display.

Here's a shot of the grizzly bear. You can see one in the background too in the den.

And a close up shot of the polar bear.

Here is the plaque for the otter skull. However I didn't have a picture of the otters from the Hogle Zoo. But I was able to grab a photo from the Living Planet Aquarium.

Here is the river otter from the Living Planet Aquarium.

That is it for the animal/skull combos that I could find. Both places had some other skulls on display though.

A sperm whale skull. 

A walrus skull. Now if there isn't a skull that more accurately defines what the animal looked like I don't know. Just looking at this skull screams "walrus" to me.

A porpoise skull.

And at the aquarium, a Megalodon jaw. However, the jaw of Megalodon (more accurately referred to as Carcharocles megalodon) has never been found since it is cartilage and decays away before it can fossilize. The jaw is a reconstruction based on what scientists think it might have looked like comparing the size of the Megalodon tooth (which are real fossils) to modern day closely related sharks. 

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