The king of the jungle, er, savannah. Beautiful mount of Panthera leo, USNM mammals hall.
The real king of the savannah, Loxodonta. It's only fair that this is the centerpiece
of the USNM rotunda.
Back to marine mammals. Skeleton of the Fransiscana/La Plata River Dolphin, Pontoporia blainvillei. My wife just calls it (and the Californian fossil Parapontoporia) "Francis". Smithsonian Osteology hall.
A menagerie of pinnipeds: a walrus skull, a Steller's sea lion skull (Eumetopias jubatus), and my favorite pinniped, the northern fur seal, Callorhinus ursinus. I love this mounted skeleton. Smithsonian Osteology hall.
Side-by-side comparison of a sea otter (Enhydra lutra) and a river otter (Lontra canadensis). I really ought to get some work done on my Pleistocene sea otter project... Smithsonian Osteology hall.
A fantastic display showing the homology of different skull bones, showing a fish, giant salamander (or is it a goliath frog?), an alligator, a bobcat, and some kind of bird. Smithsonian Osteology hall.
A member of one of my favorite groups: an alcid, the razorbill Alca torda. The closest modern relative of the extinct Great Auk, Pinguinus impennis. Smithsonian Osteology hall.
A big beautiful swordfish, Xiphias gladius. Billfish (swordfish, marlins, and sailfish) are common fossils in some sediments.
One of the most spectacular modern mammals on display at the USNM: one of the few known skeletons of the extinct Steller's sea cow, Hydrodamalis gigas. A modern Dugong dugon on the lower right for scale.
As a surrogate New Zealander, I feel obligated to include this picture of an Apteryx skeleton.
Lastly, a barndoor skate, Raja - I love mounted chondrichthyan skeletons. I like seeing mounted or preserved specimens of Raja, because I've collected numerous calcified mandibular cartilages of a Pliocene Raja from the Purisima Formation in California (see Boessenecker, 2011).
What's up next? A summary of Ewan Fordyce and Felix Marx's new paper in Proceedings B regarding the phylogenetic placement of Caperea, the Pygmy Right Whale. After, two more posts of photos from research in Charleston, South Carolina, and then we'll be back to "normal programming".