Friday, September 28, 2007

Animal Meme

I've been tagged by Anne-Marie at Pondering Pikaia. She has a very cool German Shepard and writes an excellent blog.

An interesting animal I had:
This is difficult because there is no shortage of candidates: Madagascan Giant Hissing Cockroaches, Praying Manti, Walking Sticks, tarantulas, frogs, lizards, rodents etc. I suppose for sheer strangeness, however, my leech would take the prize. To forestall the inevitable questions, I fed it snails.

An interesting animal I ate:
Again there is no shortage of candidates; among animals, I've knowingly eaten from eight phyla (Cnidaria, Uniramia, Chelicerata, Crustacea, Mollusca, Annelida, Echinodermata, & Chordata). Unknowingly, who knows... I'd have to guess at least half of the phyla. The most recent unusual organism was a jellyfish. How was it? Kind of like chewy noodles.

An interesting animal in the Museum:
One of my favorite animals went extinct quite some time ago: Opabinia regalis (depicted above). It derives from the Cambrian Explosion ~530 mya. Its reconstructed image was greeted with laughter as a pretty good joke when first presented at a scientific meeting in 1972. We are still not sure what exactly it is.

An interesting thing I did with or to an animal:
I held a 3 day old pronghorn fawn while it was weighed and tagged. It was a bag of bones with giant eyes and a furiously beating heart. I don't think any wild animal has so touched me before or since.

An interesting animal in its natural habitat:
My favorite wild animals encounter was with a mom Grizzly and her three cubs in Yellowstone NP. To this day, Ryan Monello, wildlife biologist par excellence at the University of Missouri: Columbia, believes he saved my life by preventing me from trying to get closer. He is probably right.

I'm tagging Larry, Cesar, Matt, Jessica and Carl. I'm guessing they will have interesting responses.

Photo from the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History collection.


  1. A photo of Opabinia is absolutely beautiful! You mentioned numerous of species that I have no idea what they are! How was jellyfish cooked? People would open their eyes when I say I like to eat octopus and sardines. You have more guts than I do! :)

  2. Common representatives of the phyla I mentioned are (in order): jellyfish, insects, spiders, shrimp, clams, earthworms, sea urchins and cows.

    During a job interview lunch, one of the professors interviewing me ordered a Jellyfish appetizer. I was afraid to say no. Jellyfish themselves (at least the one I had) are tasteless. This one was prepared with a hot sauce.