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Saturday, October 3, 2015

Come On, Halloween! Get Anatomy Right!

It is getting close to one of my favorite times of the year.  I love Halloween!  It was always a fun event growing up, and I've always loved costumes and spooky themes.  I get really excited when the Halloween decorations start to crop up in stores, and start making regular trips to see what new things they have each year.  And don't even get me started on the fun of specialty Halloween Stores!

This year I noticed far more animal skeletons than I've ever seen before.  As a veterinarian as well as a Halloween enthusiast, this was a double bonus to me.  However, I noticed some problems.....

It starts out well enough, with some cool skeletons and skulls.

 I'd have fun displaying these all year!  But then I noticed some anatomical issues on other skeletons.

Do you see the problem?  Can anyone tell what's incorrect about the cat and rat skeletons?  It's the ears!  A skeleton is made of bone, and the ear flaps (pinnas) are cartilage.  Therefore you will never see the ears on any skeleton.

Okay, this bothered me a bit, but I understand that it is harder to quickly identify the skeleton without the ears, at least for a layperson.  So I was willing to let this slide since the rest was so cool.  But then I saw the skeleton that sent me over the edge.

Please tell me you see the problem!  Spiders don't have endoskeletons!  THEY DON'T HAVE BONES!  There are no leg bones, spine, or ribs on an arachnid!!!!  Spiders are supported by exoskeletons, which is basically their entire body.  

Here's what such a thing actually looks like.  The two left objects are shed exoskeletons, while on the right is the live spider.  

A dead spider wouldn't look like the Halloween decoration!

I know this is a minor issue to most people, and I'm probably one of the few that even notices this.  My wife has had to hear my rants every time we see the spider skeletons in stores, and she patiently lets me get my frustrations out.  But this really does bother me!  I don't expect complete scientific accuracy in a holiday decoration, but at least don't be so glaringly wrong!