One more post from my trip to Vancouver last weekend, which upon reflection definitely had a whaley theme to it. What can I say, I have a soft spot for cetaceans. Continue reading
It is Christmastime, which means it is time for me to make my annual pilgrimage to my favourite 13th-Century-Castle-that-is-also-a-Palaeontological-Museum in lovely Lerici, Italy.
Although you wouldn’t necessarily know it from this picture, the Bactrian Camel Camelus bactrianusis is the two-humped camel found in the deserts and steppes of Mongolia. When I was growing up, the way to remember which camel was which was to turn the B of Bactrian and D of Dromedary on their sides – Bactrians have two humps, Dromedaries have one. Last winter was very harsh in Mongolia, and millions of livestock died – I wonder if this is the reason that so many camels had flopped-over humps this year.
In addition to dead and fossilized animals, I came across the remains of many recently dead animals while prospecting (including one tremendously large and dead camel with the skin still intact). Skulls and skull caps with horns of Altai Argali (Ovis ammon ammon), Siberian Ibex (Capra sibirica), and Goitered Gazelle (Gazella subgutturosa) were common sights, and many skulls were affixed to the fronts of our camp trucks. On one occassion we did see several Goitered Gazelles fleeing from our approaching vehicles – they are incredibly fast. Continue reading
Perhaps the most charismatic of the Mongolian predators is the Snow Leopard, Uncia uncia, seen here at the Natural History Museum in Ulaanbaatar. Sadly I did not get to see one of these great cats, as they are fairly rare and highly reclusive. Continue reading
I finished my PhD Candidacy Exam last week, and on Thursday Pete and I headed to Vancouver for a short vacation before he starts work and I begin my frequent summer travels. This was a completely non-work-related trip and we were unplugged for a few days, which was nice. This was my first time to Vancouver. We did a lot of sightseeing, ate some great food, and stayed near English Bay Beach, which was really nice. We miss the ocean!