Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Stunning skeleton photos

One of my favourite courses at uni was called 'Past Lives'. 

It involved dinosaurs, it couldn't fail. 

During one study period we looked at some bones to see what we could conclude about the animals they belonged to. The lecturer also brought in a book for us to look at called 'Evolution in Action - Natural History Through Spectacular Skeletons'. It was written by a guy called Jean-Baptiste de Panafieu and the photos were taken by Patrick Gries. 

This book is AMAZING. I love being able to see the skeletons in such detail and figure out how they enable the animal to move and why they have certain skeletal features, I think it's fascinating. 

I got the book a couple of Christmas' ago and here are some of my favourite photos from it. 

Apologies for the poor photo quality! The quality of the photo's in the book is amazing but once again using the phone from my £20 camera!! But you get the idea!

Babirusa, Babyrousa babyrussa. Indonesia
Interesting fact: A type of wild pig, some individuals die by piercing their own brain with their tusks, apparently a risk of the reproductive process.

Shortfin mako, Isurus oxyrinchus. Temperate and tropical seas.
Interesting fact: Sharks always have a perfect set of teeth. This is because they have rows of teeth that are fixed in the gum and that gradually move forward and are 'shed'.

Rhinoceros hornbill, Buceros rhinoceros. South-east Asia.
Interesting fact: In life the casque (the 'horn' above the beak) and the beak are brightly coloured red, yellow and orange. This is because the hornbill repeatedly rubs the casque and beak against a gland that produces orange and red liquid. The casque and beak start off white.

Vanauatu flying fox, Pteropus anetianus. New Caledonia.

Turbot, Psetta maxima. Northeastern Atlantic.
Interesting fact: A type of flatfish, it has both eyes on the left side. The right side is 'blind'.

Southern sea lion, Otaria flavescens. Coasts of South America.
Interesting fact: In the water this sea lion uses it's arms as paddles, while the rear limbs act as webbed fins and enable direction change. On land however, this sea lion becomes a quadruped, able to jump and gallop.

Southern right whale, Balaena australis. Antarctic.
Interesting fact: Sounds emitted from the blowhole are focused by a sac of complex fats at the top of the skull. These sounds 'hit' objects around the whale and echo back, travelling through the lower jawbone to the middle ear.

Green turtle, Chelonia mydas. Global oceans.
Interesting fact: These turtles must breath air to get enough oxygen to enable their activity levels. They can  dive underwater for 4-5 minutes before coming up for a 1-3 second breath. However, they can rest and sleep underwater for several hours.

Rattlesnake, Crotalus sp. America.
Interesting fact: The rattle is made up of hollow beads that are actually modified scales from the tip of the tail. After they shed their skin for the first time they gain an additional bead that beats against the first bead to create the rattling sound.

Here's the book cover:

Definitely worth a buy, put it on your Christmas list!

Mine was £38 but I just checked Amazon and it says £148!!! Typo I think so maybe check elsewhere!

Hope you enjoyed the photos! If you know of any other gorgeous photo books (about anything!) let me know!


  1. The Baleen whale was amazing. Such a large mouth!

  2. I know the mouth looks incredible doesn't it. I love the sea lion one aswell, it looks so menacing!