Friday, July 04, 2008

Baird's tapir skeleton

Photo of Baird's tapir skeleton courtesy of
and copyright by Carol Schaffer

For englargement, click photo

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This skeleton photo was taken by Carol Schaffer at the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC, in 2008. Tapir fan and friend Annemarie sent it along with Carol's agreement that we could post it online. Thanks to both of you! The skeleton has apparently been on display for many, many years. I have a print online in The Tapir Gallery in black and white taken (probably) in the 1970s by Robert A. Wilson. It's not as clear as this one by Carol, so I was very happy to have a chance to post this image. Click the photo to enlarge. The text says,

TAPIR

Tapirus bairdii

Tapirs are forest-dwellers of the moist tropics. With the side toes present, the foot is broad and flexible, and is useful in swimming and walking on soft ground. The teeth are simple and low-crowned. In this species a vertical bony plate forms a partition between the nostrils.


Tapir species can be identifed easily from their skulls. Baird's tapir is the only one with a full bony plate as described above. The Malayan tapir has a much smaller partial plate attached at the lower resting point of the plate you see here, while the lowland and mountain tapir have no hint of this septum.

The big guy at the left is not a tapir, but seems to be watching over the smaller Tapirus. Possibly it's a titanothere? If anyone knows, please send a note!

2 comments:

hyrax said...

Who hoo! What I forgot to tell you is that Carol is who originally introduced me to the tapir gallery, finding me a link when I first fell in love with the majestic tapir all those years ago!

Annemarie

tapirgal said...

That's really nice to know! Also, I'm not sure I knew that YOU were "hyrax." Did I miss something earlier? Wow.

Sheryl

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