ARE NOT JUST FOR HALLOWEEN
a coffee table book suitable for display at Halloween? "The Skeleton
Revealed: An Illustrated Tour of the Vertebrates" (Johns Hopkins
University Press, 2017) by Steve Huskey is the perfect choice.
superb blend of science and art, this remarkable book is educational
and mesmerizing. Over the course of many years, Huskey prepared all
of the skeletons himself from vertebrates found around the world.
displayed in numerous museums, including the Harvard Museum of Natural
History, the California Academy of Sciences and the Phillip and Patricia
Frost Museum of Science in Miami. His book lets readers marvel at the
skeletal world all in one place.
book provides a seldom-emphasized, comparative perspective on the inner
structure of vertebrates fishes, amphibians, reptiles, birds
and mammals. More than 300 full-page photographs of some of the most
intricate skeletons imaginable are presented on a black background.
of vertebrate groups are represented, permitting anatomical comparisons
of bone structure and development. A well-written text accompanies illustrations
with explanations of how different bones, including teeth, function
in the species.
is informative, not only about animal names and geographic distributions
but also about notable biological aspects of each species presented.
An open-mouthed skeletal head of a king mackerel, one of the fastest
fish in the sea, reveals the rows of evenly spaced, razor-edged
teeth. The text notes that these marine predators can travel at almost
50 mph and cut another fish in half, which makes for easier swallowing.
shows how a king mackerels skeleton is designed for speed. Its
dorsal fin lies in a groove in the middle of the back, a feature that
helps minimize resistance as the fish propels itself through the water.
A skeleton of the worlds slowest mammal, a two-toed sloth from
tropical America, hangs upside down from a pole by its long, strong,
illustrates the elegant architecture of skeletons, each designed for
its own purpose in life. A monocled cobra, front part of its body held
high in a threat display with its hood spread wide, reveals how ribs
in the region behind the head are much straighter than others
and can be spread widely to expand the neck.
array of ribs from head to tail might lead one to ask, "Does a
snake really have that many bones?" Yes. Mostly ribs of different
skates and rays have skeletons made of cartilage instead of bone. The
cartilaginous network comprising pectoral fins of a cownose ray is shown
in a majestic fanlike display. Because rays have no swim bladder, cartilage,
which is lighter than bone, serves an important function. A lighter
body load allows rays to stay afloat as they swim through the sea.
not surprising in a book full of skeletons, some illustrations may strike
readers as a bit creepy, such as a Coopers hawk skeleton perched
on a limb with the skeleton of a flying squirrel dangling from its beak.
This predator-prey arrangement would be suitable as a front porch ornament
for a home owner who doesnt want visitors on Halloween, or perhaps
the elaborate, complex articulation of bones and the large hollow eye
socket necessary to house the hawks optical system explain how
the hawk can operate as a successful predator. Further revealed are
the captured flying squirrels delicate leg bones, which attach
to membranes, allowing these nocturnal rodents to glide through the
combinations include an African rock python skeleton constricting and
eating a Saharan spiny-tailed lizard and, even more impressive, a green
anaconda swallowing a caiman.
book on skeletons may seem most appropriate around Halloween, but The
Skeleton Revealed is suitable for every season. This book will
captivate everyone who picks it up and begins to flip through the pages,
proving, once again, any subject can be interesting, even compelling
with the right presentation.
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