Monday, December 10, 2007

Muzeum Ewolucji: Tracks

I was in Warsaw again yesterday, accompanying Agi to her university course and getting some more shopping done in the meantime. I managed to get a free half hour to take a look around the Museum of Evolution in Warsaw - more like a mini version of the natural history museum in London than anything else. It has the added bonus of being in the Palace of culture and science - a Stalinist "gift" which I must admit to liking as it is one of the few unique and original buildings in the city.
Despite there being only 4 rooms and 8zl a ticket when most museums are free on Sunday it was still worth the visit. Of particular note was a WWF display with some nice casts of animal tracks for you to identify. Out of 10 I got 6, not a great score but more than I would have got before reading a bit about tracking.
I managed to identify Wolf, Moose, Roe deer, Badger, Bear and Weasel. The boar tracks completely stumped me and my guesses for the track family with 4 pads (e.g. dogs) ran along the lines of Big Dog, Middle Dog and Small Dog - in actuality Wolf, Lynx and Fox! Wolf counts as dog for this game as it has essentially the same name (Canis lupus vs. Canis lupus familiaris). It surprised me how similar the wolf and lynx prints were - according to the book I've just looked in it all boils down to the length of the middle toes.
Of note there were also a few posters about a wolf project in the south of Poland. That's one animal I'd love to see in the wild.


Pablo said...

I've never seen wolf or lynx tracks live (so to speak) but generally the lynx track should be rounder ("If it's round it ain't a hound") especially as they have more fur around the pads. The wolf track should also have evidence of claw marks. The cat family retract their claws when walking.

sam_acw said...

Thanks for the tips, I'll try to remember that.