Mammal Skull Replicas
This section features over seventy different mammal skull replicas, exhibiting the tremendous diversity of form and function found in animal skulls. Each skull type provides clues to the food preferences of each mammal. Compare the skull anatomy of various herbivores, carnivores, omnivores and insectivores. Students can sort skull replicas into groups, theorizing about their diet and explaining their reasoning based on observed tooth and jaw structure. Once this is done, the actual identification of the skull can be revealed. For example, have students compare the nipping front teeth and grinding molars of herbivores such as deer or elk with the massive gripping and crushing strength seen in bear skull jaws and teeth or the flesh cutting and shearing carnassial teeth observed in coyote skulls or cougar skulls. Then compare these with omnivores such as opossum and skunk, or insectivores such as the brown bat (or the scapel like front teeth of the vampire bat that prefers liquid diets). These durable skulls are stronger than real skulls and offer perfect hands-on supplements to inquiry-oriented explorations of anatomy, diversity, and adaptation. An early leader in the movement to promote the use of skull replicas in over real skulls, Acorn Naturalists has been distributing these quality skull models for over thirty years.