WHAT SKELETONS CAN TELL
Professor Anusuya Chinsamy-Turan, Germán Montoya-Sanhueza, Carla du Toit and Caitlin Smith, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Cape Town
The skeleton of an animal does more than simply provide support and give scaffolding for muscles. At the histological level, bones as living tissues also record various aspects of the life history of an animal. The fact that a skeleton can survive millions of years of fossilisation with its microscopic structure intact, allows direct deductions to be made about the biology of long-dead animals.
This five-lecture course will give first-hand insight into the kind of research being done on modern and fossil bones at the university. Professor Chinsamy-Turan and her PhD students discuss their current research on the skeletons of various animals: the beaks of modern and fossil probing birds, the specialised bones of animals living underground, the bones of giraffes, and the bones of dinosaurs (including some of the largest animals ever to have walked on Earth). This course reveals what bones tell about the biology of both living and long-dead animals.
1. Overview: what bones can tell Prof Anusuya Chinsamy-Turan
2. Insights from probe-feeding birds Carla Du Toit
3. Bones of diggers Germán Montoya-Sanhueza
4. How giraffes grow Caitlin Smith
5. Dinosaur bones Prof Anusuya Chinsamy-Turan