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…

In focus: How the tuatara got its knees

Our guest post this week comes from Sophie Regnault, a PhD student in the Structure and Motion Laboratory at the Royal Veterinary College. If you would like to contribute a guest post, please get in touch on Twitter or Facebook. The patella (kneecap) is probably the largest and most widespread of the sesamoids (a group of…

In focus: Chelonians (turtles and tortoises)

This week, we were lucky enough to examine two turtles which had been donated to the RVC. Turtles, tortoises and terrapins belong to a group of reptiles called Testudines or chelonians, which is thought to be one of the very oldest groups of reptiles. They have (slowly) walked the Earth for more than 220 million…