Posts tagged Protheroe

The Elk (Cervus canadensis)  (Alces alces) and the Reindeer (Rangifer tarandus)
Though the reindeer (or caribou) was long known to be a distinct species of holarctic  deer, the elk (or wapiti) was thought to be a subspecies of the European red deer until quite recently. To confuse things even more, the early European explorers thought that the elk was a subspecies of moose, leading to the word “elk” meaning moose in much of Europe. If that’s not enough, elk (Cervus canadensis) exist throughout Siberia and in Manchuria and Mongolia, but are known as “maral” in most regions, because of confusion with the East European red deer (Cervus elaphus maral), and the Mongolian subspecies of elk is known as the Alatai maral, even though it’s since been re-classified as Cervus canadensis sibericus.
Ok, so I apparently did not triple-check this and I put in an “elk” that was really a moose, but I’m gonna go ahead and blame this one on nomenclature.
Well…at least we know what a reindeer is. For their body size, the more southerly subspecies of bull reindeer have the largest antlers of any deer, even outclassing the largest bull moose (though not in overall size). The more northerly reindeer have smaller and more spindly antlers, with fewer prongs. Unlike many deer, the reindeer antlers always grow in two specific directions, and have a very delineated anterior and posterior branch. 
The Handy Natural History. Ernest Protheroe, 1910.

The Elk (Cervus canadensis)  (Alces alces) and the Reindeer (Rangifer tarandus)

Though the reindeer (or caribou) was long known to be a distinct species of holarctic  deer, the elk (or wapiti) was thought to be a subspecies of the European red deer until quite recently. To confuse things even more, the early European explorers thought that the elk was a subspecies of moose, leading to the word “elk” meaning moose in much of Europe. If that’s not enough, elk (Cervus canadensis) exist throughout Siberia and in Manchuria and Mongolia, but are known as “maral” in most regions, because of confusion with the East European red deer (Cervus elaphus maral), and the Mongolian subspecies of elk is known as the Alatai maral, even though it’s since been re-classified as Cervus canadensis sibericus.

Ok, so I apparently did not triple-check this and I put in an “elk” that was really a moose, but I’m gonna go ahead and blame this one on nomenclature.

Well…at least we know what a reindeer is. For their body size, the more southerly subspecies of bull reindeer have the largest antlers of any deer, even outclassing the largest bull moose (though not in overall size). The more northerly reindeer have smaller and more spindly antlers, with fewer prongs. Unlike many deer, the reindeer antlers always grow in two specific directions, and have a very delineated anterior and posterior branch.

The Handy Natural History. Ernest Protheroe, 1910.


Jaws of the Hare
You can see the teeth of the hare in the cutaway of the jaws. Note the “clipping”-oriented incisors, with the grinding-oriented molars. These are very similar to rodent teeth, having continually-growing incisors covered with enamel on the anterior surface, but with exposed dentine on the posterior surface. As dentine wears away much more easily than enamel, it serves as a “self-sharpening” system to keep the teeth in gnawing-condition.
Despite these similarities, the teeth of rodents and lagomorphs are the result of convergent evolution, rather than being closely related. The difference that first led scientists to believe this (before it was proved by analysis of the inner-ear bones and other anatomical features, and, much later, genetics) is that lagomorphia are far more herbivorous than rodentia, and as such, do not have pre-molars, or any evidence of having had them. Their palate anatomy and digestive tract differs significantly because of this.
The Handy Natural History. Ernest  Protheroe, 1910.

Jaws of the Hare

You can see the teeth of the hare in the cutaway of the jaws. Note the “clipping”-oriented incisors, with the grinding-oriented molars. These are very similar to rodent teeth, having continually-growing incisors covered with enamel on the anterior surface, but with exposed dentine on the posterior surface. As dentine wears away much more easily than enamel, it serves as a “self-sharpening” system to keep the teeth in gnawing-condition.

Despite these similarities, the teeth of rodents and lagomorphs are the result of convergent evolution, rather than being closely related. The difference that first led scientists to believe this (before it was proved by analysis of the inner-ear bones and other anatomical features, and, much later, genetics) is that lagomorphia are far more herbivorous than rodentia, and as such, do not have pre-molars, or any evidence of having had them. Their palate anatomy and digestive tract differs significantly because of this.

The Handy Natural History. Ernest  Protheroe, 1910.

Skull of Chinese Water-Deer 
Part of upper jaw cut away to show base of tusks.
The Chinese water deer is classified as a cervid, despite having tusks instead of antlers. They are only native to China and Korea, but there are feral populations in pockets of France and southern England.
The New Natural History of the World. Ernst Protheroe, 1910.

Skull of Chinese Water-Deer

Part of upper jaw cut away to show base of tusks.

The Chinese water deer is classified as a cervid, despite having tusks instead of antlers. They are only native to China and Korea, but there are feral populations in pockets of France and southern England.

The New Natural History of the World. Ernst Protheroe, 1910.

Polar Bear Skeleton
The polar bear is built more stockily than other bears, since it lives in such a cold environment. It also has wider feet, to distribute its weight across ice and snow.
The Handy Natural History. Ernest Protheroe, 1910.

Polar Bear Skeleton

The polar bear is built more stockily than other bears, since it lives in such a cold environment. It also has wider feet, to distribute its weight across ice and snow.

The Handy Natural History. Ernest Protheroe, 1910.

Sheep Skull
The skull of the bighorn sheep is pretty awesome - it’s made specifically for an animal that vies for superiority by violently headbutting other animals. It’s a double-buttress, with honeycomb bone struts to reinforce it and absorb the blows.
The Handy Natural History. Ernest Protheroe, 1919.

Sheep Skull

The skull of the bighorn sheep is pretty awesome - it’s made specifically for an animal that vies for superiority by violently headbutting other animals. It’s a double-buttress, with honeycomb bone struts to reinforce it and absorb the blows.

The Handy Natural History. Ernest Protheroe, 1919.

Hipitty hop, hipitty hop…
Jerboas can hop faster than a human can run! They don’t walk around like normal gerbils or mice, but walk upright or hop. They’re like little kangaroos!

Hipitty hop, hipitty hop…

Jerboas can hop faster than a human can run! They don’t walk around like normal gerbils or mice, but walk upright or hop. They’re like little kangaroos!