Garth and Jerri Frehner Museum of Natural History

Bones at the Frehner Museum

Did you know that all cats, no matter the size or species, have the same basic skull structure? Come visit us to view our collection of bones, including a giraffe neck and head, and a variety of animal skulls. During your visit, be sure to make a guess on our Skull of the Month board to test your skeletal knowledge.

Here are a few examples of what you will find in our museum.

Anteater Skull

Anteaters have very poor eyesight, but an excellent sense of smell that is 40 times better than humans. They have 4-inch claws to protect themselves from predators. An anteater’s snout is a very long, narrow tube. This means that an anteater has very limited jaw movement. Since anteaters cannot open their mouth very wide, they use their tongues, which are usually about 2 feet long, to eat their food. Equipped with tiny backward facing “spines,” or bumps, and very sticky saliva, their tongues are very effective at picking up small insects, like ants - hence the name anteater. But they have to eat the ants quickly, otherwise they will get bitten, which is why they can flick their tongues about 150 flicks per minute. A group of anteaters is called a parade, but anteaters tend to live alone.

Beaver Skull

Beaver teeth are very interesting. The orange pigment of the 4 incisors comes from the iron in their enamel. The iron also makes their teeth very strong and resistant to damage and decay. Their teeth are also interesting in the fact that the front, outer layer is harder than the back, inside layer. This causes the inside layer to wear away faster than the outer, creating a sharp “chisel” edge on the teeth. Their teeth are also slightly curved due to the fact that the outer layer grows faster than the inside layer. This helps the beavers more easily cut wood with their teeth. Beaver teeth never stop growing, so they can withstand a lifetime of wearing down from chewing and cutting hard wood.

Komodo Dragon Skeleton

Komodo dragons are an endangered species found on the Lesser Sunda Islands of Indonesia. They are the largest lizards in the world and can grow up to 10 feet long and weigh 300 pounds. They are ferocious predators and eat a variety of animals, such as deer, pigs, other dragons, and sometimes even water buffalo. If their prey manages to escape, they won’t survive for long. Komodo dragon saliva contains upwards of 50 different bacteria and can cause blood poisoning in 24-hours or less once it is in the prey’s system. In this case, the Komodo dragon follows the wounded prey until it dies, and then eats it. Komodo dragons can eat up to 80 percent of their body weight in one meal.

This page was updated April 2016.