Bird’s Tongue

Birds have many different types, shapes, and sizes of tongues, depending upon the species, and what they eat. Birds don’t have teeth, and that means that the tongue is very important. 

A human tongue is a muscle. A bird tongue is a muscle too, but tougher and harder than a human tongue. Birds have five bones in their tongue. These bones are known as the hyoid apparatus. The five bones are: paraglossals, basihyale, urohyale, ceratobranchiate, and epibranchiate. 

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Common Stingray

The Common Stingray (Dasyatis pastinaca) is a marine (saltwater) cartilaginous fish (without bones, like a shark). Instead of a bony skeleton, it has cartilage, which is the same substance as the human nose and human ears.

The Common Stingray is thin, flat, and diamond-shaped, but slightly wider than long (like a kite). It is pale-grey, brown or olive-green, with smooth skin. Its small mouth is located on its underside and its bulging eyes are close together on the top of its head. It has small blunt teeth. It has a long, tapering, whip-like tail with two dorsal fins and a venomous barb. It has five pairs of small gills, which enable it to breath underwater.

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What is cartilage?

Cartilage is smooth elastic tissue, such as the human rib cage, ear, and nose.

Cartilage does not contain blood vessels or nerves.

Sharks, rays, and skates are cartilaginous fish because they have a skeleton made entirely of cartilage.

Animal Ears: do big animals have big ears?

Do big animals have big ears and small animals have small ears? No, animal ears are many sizes and shapes.

Most ears have an outer ear (a pinna, a canal, and an eardrum), a middle ear, and an inner ear.

The pinna is the fleshy part that is visible. It is made of cartilage, not bone, so it is soft. It usually also has an ear lobe. The pinna directs sound through the canal to the eardrum.

The pinna has a muscle that moves the ear. For example, elephants and dogs can move their ears. Animals move their ears in the direction of a sound so that they can hear better.

Not all animals can move their ears because they have weak and non-functioning ear muscles. Animals that cannot move their ears include gorillas and monkeys. Humans cannot move their ears (without touching them).

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What is the difference between a skate and a ray?

What is the difference between a skate (Raja undulata) and a ray (Dasyatis)?

Both the skate (an undulate ray) and the ray are marine (saltwater) cartilaginous fish related to the shark. Not all rays are stingrays.

Both the skate and the ray have flat, boneless bodies. Instead of bone, they have cartilage (the human nose and ears are made of cartilage).

Both the skate and the ray glide through the water.

The skate has an almost-rounded body, whereas the ray is usually diamond-shaped or kite-shaped.

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Australian Lungfish

The Australian Lungfish (Neoceratodus forsteri) is also known as the Queensland Lungfish. It is a lobe-finned fish from Australia. It is one of the oldest living vertebrates on the planet.

The Australian Lungfish has a long, stout body with a flattened head and and paddle-shaped tail. It is olive-green or brown, with a pale-yellow underbelly. It has small eyes and a small mouth. Their large, bony scales have slime on them.

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Epaulette Shark

The Epaulette Shark (Hemiscyllium ocellatum) is a long-tailed carpet shark in the Hemiscyllidae family.

The Epaulette Shark is light brown with black spots. It has a large black spot behind each pectoral fin. It is called an eyespot because it looks like a large eye. The black spot has a white border. It has a long, slender body with paddle-shaped fins. At the tip of its nose it has a pair of small barbels (like whiskers). It has oval-shaped eyes.

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