Ranger Kathryn's Arches

April 1, 2010

Tricky teeth

Filed under: 1 — Kathryn Colestock-Burke @ 9:34 am
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Deer jawbone, used in "Table of Wonder" demonstration

A table of hands-on “cool stuff” ALWAYS draws people to it, whether in a visitor center or on the trail. The one I am developing beckons people to put their hand into two curtained boxes and see if they can tell the difference between a carnivore jawbone and an herbivore jawbone. I originally thought that only kids would be enticed by the boxes, but NO; everybody wants to touch the bones.

It’s very effective to use a mountain lion skull and a deer skull. Both live in our park, and they illustrate the complex predator-prey food web wonderfully. I ask the kids, “If a cougar can eat one deer a week, and something happens to the cougar, what happens to the deer population?” It’s even MORE fun to ask ranchers that hypothetical question.

A visitor hiking in the backcountry last week reported fresh mountain lion tracks way out by the Colorado River on our eastern boundary. She told me where to find them; I’d like to take my camera out there and look.

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