Skulls are complex wonders of nature. Did you know not a single animal had a skull 500 million years ago?
Well, it's actually the truth. These bony plates evolved into the structural marvels that vertebrates — animals with spinal cords — carry around today.
And the complex nature of skulls has given the internet a rich source of memes inspiration.
But have you ever wondered how aliens would reconstruct common animals based only on their skulls? How would someone out-of-this-world recreate a creature based on its skeletal remains?
That's what these people aimed to answer, and the results are somewhat hilarious. But stay alert as your catty can be a Tyrannosaurus rex in disguise!
Speaking to Bored Panda, the director of education at Skeletons: Museum of Osteology, Ashley Mason-Burns-Meerschaert, explained more about these incredible bones.
It turns out, the vertebrates with the most bones in their skulls are bony fish. According to Ashley, they can have over 100 bones in their skulls.
Ashley added that while skulls from different species might look alike, they have slight differences.
"[You can identify] some species of shrews and rodents by looking at dental variations under a microscope."
There's also some skull variation between individuals of the same species and also between males and females. Scientists call these differences' sexual dimorphism.'
Ashley also noted that animals' skulls change over time for various reasons. For instance, adaptation to the environment, change in diet, or due to animal's injuries.
It's incredible how you can tell about a vertebrate by just looking at these bony structures.
For instance, some skull features can indicate the nature of a particular species.
According to Wired:
"Big eye sockets point to a nocturnal lifestyle (big eyes harvest more light)."
The journal adds that 'giant canine teeth indicate a taste for flesh.' Lightweight bone riddled with air pockets is an adaptation for life on the wing.'
Another aspect of skulls is just how complex they can be. Just imagine, a human skull has 22 bones!
According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, a human skull features 8 cranial bones and 14 facial bones.
And for infants, the forehead bone is separated in two, but they fuse while the child grows up.