Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Savage’s Birdsnouted Whalefish

…a species of flabby whalefish (Cetomimidae) that is occurs in the the depths of Pacific ocean, chiefly in the Coral Sea and the Gulf of California. However, it is also known from the Eastern Central Atlantic. Like other flabby whalefish R. savagei’s eyes are vestigial and instead of sight R. savagei uses its lateral line to sense changes in its surroundings.

Velodona togata

Velodona togata is the only species in the genus Velodona; the genus and species names come from the large membranes that connect its arms. The species was first described by Carl Chun in his book Die Cephalopoden (from which this illustration is taken) in 1915. A second subspecies was described by Guy Coburn Robson in 1924.

the gentleman's guide to shoes

Monday, January 27, 2014

bone-eating worms

Bone-eating worms have been munching on the skeletons of dead whales (and most likely the ancestors of whales) for tens of millions of years. But they were only discovered back in 2012.  Robert Vrijenhoek was exploring the floor of Monterey Bay in a submarine when he came upon a whale carcass:
"One of the first things we noticed during that first dive were large white mats of bacteria that were decomposing tissue and other parts of the carcass. A little octopus had taken up residence in a ‘cave’ created by the hole in the back of the whale’s skull. Below the octopus’ lair was a pile of crab legs and other crab parts. He was having a great time picking off the bright red lithodid crabs that were crawling all over the carcass, bringing the crabs back to his home, and dropping the debris on his doorstep. So this dead whale had become a little self-contained ecosystem, complete with predators, decomposers, and bacteria."
"But the other thing we noticed was the proliferation of these little red worm-like creatures. They were all over the bones. They were growing like crazy, carpeting the remaining whale bones. The worms had short trunks topped by red plumes, and were about an inch or two in height. There were thousands of them waving in the current. It was really fascinating to watch."
A few of these worm species have been described now, all under the genus “Osedax” (which means bone-eater). They’re part of the final chapter in the after life of a whale — gathering up the last remaining nutrients and reducing the skeleton to dust.

rough lover

william smith's geological map of england, wales, and southern scotland

The Map that Changed the World:

William Smith's geological map of EnglandWales, and southern Scotland. Published in 1815, it was the first national-scale geological map, and by far the most accurate of its time.

fish wall paper

acquario wallpaper by piero fornasetti  (via Pinterest)

anatomical wax model

This anatomical wax model shows the internal organs in a female torso and head, including the lungs, liver, stomach, kidneys and intestines. Complete with the veins and arteries, the heart is entirely removable. 

The figure was made by Francesco Calenzuoli (1796-1821), an Italian model maker renowned for his attention to detail. Wax models were used for teaching anatomy to medical students because they made it possible to pick out and emphasise specific features of the body, making their structure and function easier to understand. 

This made them especially useful at a time when few bodies were available for dissection. The model was donated by the Department of Human Anatomy at the University of Oxford.

marine fauna lithographs

best valentines day cards ever


Some of the Earliest Maps of Stonehenge, Made by a Druid-Obsessed English Vicar

These maps and illustrations appeared in British antiquarian and vicar William Stukeley’s 1740 book, Stonehenge, A Temple Restor’d to the British Druids. Harvard’s Widener Library has recently digitized its copy of the book. You can see the whole text here.
In more than 30 illustrations, Stukeley’s book documents the way Stonehenge appeared when he visited it in the early 18thcentury. The historian was only the second scholarly investigator (after the 17th-century antiquarian John Aubrey) to take an interest in the site, and the first to publish a comprehensive account of what he found on his visits, including images of the way that the monument looked in context of the surrounding farmland.