Pulling Bat Skulls


I started "pulling skulls" from bats at the Field Museum for Bruce Patterson. It is very interesting, to say the least. I pull a skull by cutting and peeling the skin from around the mouth and over the head, like taking off a mask. Then I have to dislocate the skull and fill the skin with cotton. After this, the skulls will be placed in a container with flesh eating beetles and then some final touch up cleaning by the professionals. Pretty awesome, crazy, weird, and a little bit gross but very cool. I do this in the sub-sub basement of the Field in the Collections Resource Center (CRC) in a lab surrounded by dead animals soaking in alcohol. Try drinking your morning coffee with a cyclops deer fetus staring at you.

Bruce believes he and his colleagues may have found a new species of bat. In order to determine this, they must compare the bat to closely related species on every level before sending the specimens back to where they came from. Many species specific traits can be determined by the skull and so they must be removed, cleaned, and compared.

I believe it is important to know what species are where (the field of taxonomy) in order to monitor our impacts as humans and protect the species that are at risk. And so, taxonomy should be more of an important tool of conservationists as most conservation planning is species specific. I like playing a small roll in that. Anyways, I digressed, here are some photos:

Bruce showing me how it is done:

My turn:

(Photograph by Bruce Patterson)


Chicago At Night

Since I work all day long, I have been taking more photographs at night. Here is a bit of what I have done.

This is where I work, the Chicago Field Museum:

Navy Pier on a cold windy night:

Chicago skyline seen from the Adler Planetarium just after sunset:

Black Bean Soup

Black Bean Soup garnished with Flamin' Hot Cheetos (Hannah's idea) on a cold winter day is pretty tasty. Really easy to make, too. Yum.

For some more great food photography and recipes I keep meaning to try, check out this blog: Essential Omnivore


Chicago Skyline Panorama

Chicago skyline just as clouds started to roll in. I was on my bike and made it home as the rain started to sprinkle down. A few days before I took this photograph, Chicago experienced some really heavy winds. I think that is why this boat was sitting on the concrete and not in the water.