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Naturalist Notebook 

October 4, 2011

Spotlight On…

Check out this week’s featured specimen!



(Pictured below, really close up!)



100411
Photo: N. Sincero 2011



Can you guess what it is?



Here are some hints:

  • Scientists have found 300,000-year-old fossils of this species.
  • Today, this animal is endangered; its rapid population decline is probably due to shifts in its prey populations as a result of commercial fishing.



Leave us a comment with your answer! Then come see us outside the Project Lab on Friday, October 7th at 11:30 AM for Specimen Spotlight in order to find out if you’re right.


Filed under: Spotlight On... — nature @ 8:41 am

16 Comments »

  1. turtle?

    Comment by norah collins cline — October 4, 2011 @ 11:00 am

  2. Horeshoe crab?

    Comment by Nicole — October 4, 2011 @ 11:01 am

  3. sea turtle is what i specifically guessed.

    Comment by norah collins cline — October 4, 2011 @ 11:02 am

  4. Shark Vertebrae?

    Comment by Marlon — October 4, 2011 @ 11:02 am

  5. A cormorant!

    Comment by Richmond — October 4, 2011 @ 11:03 am

  6. I believe it may be an albatross skull.

    Comment by Eric Bowman — October 4, 2011 @ 11:09 am

  7. cormorant

    Comment by Kelly H — October 4, 2011 @ 11:18 am

  8. It’s obviously a bird of some kind, perhaps a penguin.

    Comment by Jim Long — October 4, 2011 @ 11:23 am

  9. Sea Turtle

    Comment by Julia — October 4, 2011 @ 11:25 am

  10. I’d say Shark vertebrae.

    Comment by Sara R. — October 4, 2011 @ 11:33 am

  11. I would wager that it is an eagle or a gull

    Comment by Matthew Shaffer — October 4, 2011 @ 11:45 am

  12. well, it looks like a lot of probably right answers came before me. I can’t tell the specific species, but I have to agree that this is a cormorant or a shag of some kind.

    Comment by Kate — October 4, 2011 @ 12:46 pm

  13. I think that it may be an African penguin(Spheniscus demersus)skull….

    Comment by Jorge Lehr — October 4, 2011 @ 12:57 pm

  14. Hazarding a guess. African Penguin, (Spheniscus demersus)?

    Comment by Jane Mager — October 4, 2011 @ 12:57 pm

  15. Well, was I right? My guess was the African Penguin (Spheniscus demersus)on 10/04….

    Comment by Jorge Lehr — October 8, 2011 @ 9:47 am

  16. We apologize for the delay in posting the answer. Although there were many great guesses, Jane and Jorge were right. It was a skull from an African penguin (Spheniscus demersus).

    We’ll have another “Spotlight On” coming soon, but in the meantime, to learn more about African penguins and see the Academy’s penguins in action, check out our Penguin blog.

    Comment by nature — October 9, 2011 @ 8:59 am

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