Have you ever looked at a human skull? If you have, you may have noticed how our eye sockets our positioned at the front of our skull. And you also may have noticed that our teeth include canines, incisors, and molars. Human skulls look pretty neat don’t they? But have you ever seen the skull of a hammerhead shark or that of a toucan?! Well, wait no more! These are some examples from the FASCINATING collection in Skulls, opening May 16th and running until November 30th. Trust me; you’re in for a treat in this highly interactive experience collected by Raymond “Bones” Bandar, an Academy research associate, who has been collecting skulls for more than 50 years!
Skulls of a Lifetime
Then make your way up to the Naturalist Center to see Bandar’s Bones: Skulls of a Lifetime. Curated by Bandar himself, the 10-case display is available now for viewing. You can see his personal display highlighting a variety of mammal skulls. In addition, the Naturalist Center will have lots of fun skull related activities all around. Check online for Naturalist Center hours as they may differ by day of the week.
Chomp, Bite, and Chew: How Do Our Teeth Do What They Do?
Let’s get to know our teeth! Teeth tell us a lot about what we eat and how we eat what we eat. With your family choose at least three types of food (choose different textures like apples, carrots, beef jerky, sunflower seeds, soft bread, etc.). Eat one item at a time and as you’re eating it, think about which teeth you use and how you use them. Did you tear with your front teeth first, then chew with your back teeth? Record your observations and continue discovering which teeth are used when eating the rest of your food items. Discuss your results with your family and talk about the function of each type of tooth.
What’s Their Story?
The next time you look at a skull, look very closely. Observe it for a couple minutes. Skulls tell us stories of our vertebrate animal friends. Head to your local library to check out Skulls : an exploration of Alan Dudley’s curious collection and explore beautiful pictures of more than 300 different animal skulls. Skulls tell us whether animals are predators or prey in their ecosystem (eye placement), or whether they are diurnal or nocturnal (relative eye size). They can also tell us whether an animal eats meat, or only enjoys greens, or both just by looking at their teeth. Ask yourself, “What’s their story?” You can find out more here.