In focus: Blind creatures of the deep

This week’s post is from Lauren Sumner-Rooney, a post-doctoral researcher at the Museum für Naturkunde. If you would like to write for Anatomy to You, get in touch via Facebook or Twitter. The featured image shows a specimen of a new species of Zetela (a snail), removed from its shell. Image: Natural History Museum, Specimen: Museum National…

In focus: Investigating the Biomechanics of the Tadpole from Hell

by Eva Herbst, Structure & Motion Lab, The Royal Veterinary College, UK. If you would like to contribute a guest post, please get in touch, such as on Twitter or Facebook. Fig. 1 Reconstruction of Crassigyrinus scoticus (Panchen & Smithson 1990) My name is Eva Herbst and I started my PhD with John Hutchinson and co-supervisor…

In focus: How much do turtles wiggle their hips?

by Christopher Mayerl, Evolutionary Morphology and Biomechanics Laboratory at Clemson University (S. Carolina, USA). If you would like to contribute a guest post, please get in touch, such as on Twitter or Facebook. When you see a turtle, you automatically know it’s a turtle and not something else, probably because of its distinctive shell. However, there’s…

In focus: The big picture of little bones in tuatara

By Sophie Regnault with John Hutchinson and Marc Jones Sesamoid bones are specialised, typically small, bones found in tendons near to joints, with several unusual characteristics. We’ve covered them here before. These sesamoids tend to alter the mechanics of joints, and their development also seems highly influenced by movement. They can vary between individuals or…

In focus: What is the Portuguese Man-O’-War?

Our guest post this week comes from Emei Ma, a scientific artist. If you would like to contribute a guest post, please get in touch on Twitter or Facebook. Occasionally, we come across an image or a video that compels us to ask, “What is that?” Such was the case when I saw the mesmerizing work of Aaron…

In focus: The mysterious extra ‘digits’ of pandas, moles and elephants

The biological ‘five finger rule’ is strikingly consistent throughout living tetrapod vertebrates. Humans and other primates, most carnivorous mammals, crocodiles, lizards and tortoises all typically possess the five digits (fingers and toes) characteristic of tetrapod limbs. It wasn’t always so – the ancient ancestors of the first vertebrates to walk on land, such as Ichthyostega and Acanthostega, had up to…

In focus: Launching our new CrocBase project!

We are delighted to announce the launch of the first of several new open access databases from John Hutchinson’s team at the RVC, containing complete CT and MRI scans of almost all our modern crocodile specimens! Our CrocBase is hosted via the Open Science Framework, and contains 53 scan datasets of five crocodilian (AKA crocodylian to scientists) species…

In Focus: Can golden moles hear the earth move with a Thor-like ‘hammer’?

The golden moles (Chrysochloridae) are a group of silky and rather endearing group of mammals resembling, but distinct from, the true moles (talpids). Indeed, they are more closely related to elephants and manatees than to moles, shrews, rodents or other seemingly similar animals. They share many features with moles, such as adaptations to burrowing, and inhabit…

In Focus: Innovations in bats’ skin helped flying mammals take off

This week’s post was written with the help of Dr Jorn Cheney, post-doctoral fellow at the Royal Veterinary College. If you would like to contribute a guest post, please get in touch on Twitter or Facebook. Powered flight has evolved four times in the animal kingdom: once each in insects, birds, pterosaurs and bats. Biomechanists have spent decades…

In Focus: ‘Skin teeth’ stories: using shark denticles to look to their past

Our guest post this week comes from Erin Dillon, a short-term fellow at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute. If you would like to contribute a guest post, please get in touch on Twitter or Facebook. What were shark communities like before humans? We know that shark populations have waned significantly over the past several centuries, but we don’t yet…