Monday, September 8, 2014
On the Loose with Choclo and Oob
To get there, we passed through the sculpture garden, always a fun thing!
Here they are, thinking, with "The Thinker."
Yes, it is a giant rabbit homage to Rodin's Thinker.
Well, we thought about it, anyway.
The first few weeks in September, there are very few people at the Smithsonian museums. The tourists have gone, but the school groups haven't started yet.
It wanted to stay on him the entire time, and it kept licking his head!
Oob found a butterfly on the floor, and got to pick it up and hold it with a paint brush. There really is something magical about butterflies, isn't there?
After that we toured the insect zoo. We got to hold a variety of creepy crawlies (horn worms, large grasshoppers, hissing cockroaches, strange beetles), and even got to see a tarantula have lunch.
That was neat! We've been to 3 or 4 tarantula feedings, but this was the first time we saw one actually eat. They usually eat once a week, but can go months without being hungry.
We were very interested in their animal mummies: they have cats, falcons, crocodiles, and a (large) bull. We also liked the shabtis and the canopic jars, but we did NOT like the unwrapped mummies.
Choclo, I think, is concerned about the ick factor. I don't like it because I think it's not respectful to the dignity of the person who was mummified. They are still real bodies of real people (who did not consent to being unwrapped and looked at by random people).
So off we went, around the corner to the (animal) skeletons. I was looking at the ray skeletons (interesting cartiladge!), when Choclo and Oob urged me to "Get the camera, it's Gamera!"
Most interesting to me was the kangaroo skeleton: the foot bones are not at all what I thought they'd be like. There is one big toe (and tarsal) with a smaller on on one side, but then the side toward the center of the animal has two wispy looking toes that look more like the wing bones of birds. Very strange! Now I need to Google kangaroo feet: maybe they don't look the way I've always pictured them?
If you look closely, there may be a Dr. Who fan on the loose...
UPDATE: on the kangaroo feet, yes, the medial (inner) toes are nothing like I had imagined. I am completely stumped as to why their feet are like that. I would say that the inner two toes are vestigal, but then what happened to the fifth tarsal and toe? They do have 5 fingers, so how is this arrangement beneficial? Here's a sketch, the one on the left is a normal kangaroo, the right is a tree kangaroo: