School of Life Sciences | Ask A Biologist

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Why is Rudolp's nose red?

2002, Summer

Summer 2002 Mystery Image

Summer 2002 Mystery Image
Image by Dennis McDaniel

You can find interesting biological items almost anywhere. This was found in the middle of the desert.

This is a close-up picture of the top of a javelina's skull. A javelina is a desert mammal related to the pig. Animal bones are full of living cells, which need to be supplied with nutrients and oxygen. The holes and ridges that you see are where blood vessels and nerves travel along and through the bone.

Take a look at the entire skull (below right) and don't forget to check out the great guesses we received from everyone.


 javelina skull If you are curious, here are some numbers from our list of guesses. 

  • 32% it was part of a bone (good job!)
  • 19% thought it might be blood vessels (also a good guess!)
  • 18% a rock or fossil
  • 13% thought these channels were made by ants or termites
  • 9% believed it was extraterrestrial in nature
  • 9% it was part of a shell

Some great creative single answers are listed below. 

  • Foam on a latte
  • Lava running down a street
  • Plaque blocking up an artery
  • Termite tunnels
  • Canals on the surface of Mars
  • Arial view of a dry desert wash
  • Wood with worm holes
  • A sand dune
ant, photo by Alex Wild

It's like having your own microscope! Visit our Zoom Gallery to explore and have fun zooming in and moving around each image.

Share to Google Classroom

Be part of Ask A Biologist

by volunteering, or simply sending us feedback on the site. Scientists, teachers, writers, illustrators, and translators are all important to the program. If you are interested in helping with the website we have a Volunteer page to get the process started.

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ant, photo by Alex Wild

It's like having your own microscope! Visit our Zoom Gallery to explore and have fun zooming in and moving around each image.

Share to Google Classroom

Be part of Ask A Biologist

by volunteering, or simply sending us feedback on the site. Scientists, teachers, writers, illustrators, and translators are all important to the program. If you are interested in helping with the website we have a Volunteer page to get the process started.