p1000215In my post on the Museo del Desierto. I noted that they have some nice innovations in their displays and this is one that I was especially impressed with (apparently in some bizarre way a left-over from a touring exhibit sponsored by Pepsi – how or why, I have no idea). As you can see they have mocked up a bat skeleton to the size of a person to really demonstrate the homology of all the various parts of the mammalian skeleton. It’s easy to see how all the main limb and trunk bones match, not just in terms of basic number and position, but also in terms of the articulations and subtleties of shape and so on. It’s simple enough, but nice and dramatic, and of course the details are easy to see when they are this size, and humans are always going to be a brilliant frame of reference for the average museum visitor or child.

7 Responses to “Batman”

  1. 1 Oliver 17/12/2008 at 6:50 pm

    That is absolute genius. Just being told “bats are mammals” doesn’t quite prepare you for what that actually *means*.

    Then I thought “bet it doesn’t work for dolphins”… but then I checked, and they appear to have proper shoulder blades and arms. Spooky.

  2. 2 David Hone 18/12/2008 at 9:31 am

    Yes, this aspect of homology (similarity of form) is a classic piece of evidence for common descent and evolution. It works generall pretty well across all vertebrates (in terms of the skeleton) though obviously will all kinds of modifications (such as the loss of the hind legs in dolphins, or fingers in horses) but even these get reduced once you start going through the fossil record.

  3. 3 Zach Miller 18/12/2008 at 3:21 pm

    That’s awesome! Love that ribcage especially.

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