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Tiny Terrariums, Pelts, Claws and Jaws

August 7, 2018
By Darren Fraser , Emmetsburg News

by Darren Fraser

On an overcast Monday morning, two young Emmetsburg natives came face to fossil with the sublime mysteries of nature, natural adaption and the beauty of evolution.

On August 1, Katie Chapman and Jacob Hall comprised the audience to whom Palo Alto naturalist Kaitlin Anderson explained the simple eloquence of form following function.

Article Photos

HERE’S LOOKING AT YOU - Budding naturalists Jacob Hall and Katie Chapman show off their terrariums. Palo Alto County naturalist Kaitlin Anderson brought pelts, skulls and claws to demonstrate natural adaption and other mysteries of nature. -- Darren Fraser Photo

Anderson is a frequent visitor to Emmetsburg. She held a large boa constrictor and explained the marvels of snake physiology to a rapt audience of Emmetsburg youngsters earlier this year.

Monday's instruction was tame by comparison. Anderson used skull fossils of animals to explain how species evolved and adapted to their environment. She pointed out the shape of a bobcat's skull, explaining how the cat's jaws and teeth differed from a beaver's; how the latter's evolved to fit its function: chomping wood.

Anderson demonstrated evolutionary differences between predators and prey. She displayed a beaver's paw and explained the differences between it and a predator's paw.

Lastly, Anderson explained the differences between pelts, explaining how animals like beavers excrete oils to effectively waterproof their fur.

And, yes. Chapman and Hall made terrariums using household jars, some soil, some rocks and plants. Not a bad way to spend an hour.



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