Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Museum of Zoology

Today we visited the Museum of Zoology. It was awesome with a Komodo dragon, a Killer whale, a bighorn sheep,  a megatherium, a rhino, a stoat, a Narwhal with two horns instead of one,  an otter a pine marten, eagles, owls, Charles Darwin's beetle collection, fossils, finches and barnacles also belonging to him, a giraffe frogs, a chinese giant salamander, an African Elephant, an ocelot, and a wildcat! some of these were skeletons, some taxidermic models and some were pickled.

 A Chinese giant salamander

 A megatherium (giant ground sloth)

 A stoat

 An ocelot

 Rebecca gets a bit too close to a white rhino

 A bighorn sheep

Something else that was there was a frilled shark. I have researched them and am showing what I learnt here.

The frilled shark is a brown or grey shark with front gills that reach down under the neck, forming a frill or ruff. Unlike most other sharks, their mouth is at the front of  it's head, not under it. They have a snake like body with numerous backwards pointing needle like teeth. It's maximum lengths are 1.7 metres for males and 2 metres for females. They are one of earth's oldest sharks and are called "living fossils". It is found in the world's oceans and lives in its deepest depths by day but scientists think they migrate to the surface by night. 

Their large, flexible jaws allow them to swallow creatures over half their own size, in fact one was found with a Japanese catshark in its belly! Their favourite food however, is squid which they catch with their many backwards pointing teeth. It is not known how these slow sharks catch such fast creatures and there are many ideas that have been put forth. They might either create a vacuum by closing their gills and suck the squids into their mouths, another is they ambush prey and grab them like a snake, another is they snag squid tentacles on their teeth. A less exciting possibility is they grab exhausted or dying squid after their prey has spawned and is really tired. people also think that they open their mouth and reveal their shiny teeth. Squids see the shining fangs and mistake them for fish. They swim right into the shark's mouth-deliberately! Although all these are possible, they have not yet been proved even though people have seen frilled sharks swimming with their mouth open!

Frilled sharks lay long egg cases which don't hatch until almost 3 1/2 years have passed. This is the longest gestation period of any vertebrate!

Some cryptozoologists (people who study creatures that may or may not exist) think a shark in the same family as the frilled shark, only much bigger that looks a lot like it may have been mistaken for sea serpents! These are awesome sharks!


  1. Wonderful post Jake. Thanks for teaching me about the frilled shark, it is an amazing creature. The images of it that I found on the internet are amazing. The white rhino also looks huge. Are these photos your's or your mum's? They're wonderful. Love Grandad

    1. Thanks Grandad! They are all my photos. I try to use my own ones, if I can! Jacob