Dissecting an Animal–Without the Animal

It seems dissecting various animals is a rite of passage for public school kids going through science class. Some don’t mind at all–it is a nice diversion from sitting in class listening to a lecture. There are issues though, ranging from those who don’t want an animal killed for science to those who simply don’t have access to the actual animal.

That’s where the Science Bank comes in. They have a page that links to several other sites where one may see a virtual dissection of many different types of animals, from the typical, like pigs or rats, to the unusual, such as a starfish, grasshopper or even a cow eyeball or a sheep brain.

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One has to be careful, because some sites charge a fee, but to avoid this, just don’t click on a link with an asterisk.

Here is one free site for earthworm dissection that has many features:

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Here is another free site for grasshoppers that allows you to choose which systems are visible or not, and whether or not the systems are labeled.

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This site is a treasure trove for anyone interested in the biology of several different types of animals.

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Biodiversity Heritage Library

For patrons interested in various biology topics, the Biodiversity Heritage Library is a great open source site with this stated goal:

The Biodiversity Heritage Library improves research methodology by collaboratively making biodiversity literature openly available to the world as part of a global biodiversity community.

BHL also serves as the foundational literature component of the Encyclopedia of Life.

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Biodiversity is defined by Merriam Webster as “biological diversity in an environment as indicated by numbers of different species of plants and animals“. So this topic is broad and vast, covering animal & plant biology, classification, extinct and surviving species, evolutionary history and many others.

Slate.com did an article on the site’s flickr.com image page: “2 Million Beautiful Images of Biodiversity Are Now Available for Free“.

So here’s how it works: I searched “platypus”:

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and it took me here:

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I chose to look at an article, as opposed to a book, book review or other resource, and after choosing the “article” tab and “view article” this is what came up:

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As you can see, this is an actual article from an actual academic journal that someone may find useful for their research. This search is good for searching across books and journals, scientific names, authors and subjects. You may also browse by title, author, date, collection and contributor.

They have many of the other features standard to most pages these days, such as their social media links, a blog, a link to other media and links to their visual resources.

3D Virtual Fossil Collection

http://www.3d-fossils.ac.uk/home.html

This website, from the British Geological Survey, provides the first link to 3D images of fossils. From the site, “the pictures link to photographs (including ‘anaglyph’ stereo pairs) and a selection of 3D digital models. Just type the fossil you are looking for in the search box. The full details of the fossil results provide the taxonomy group the fossil belongs to. The 3D images come up under view scanner. The three choices to bring them up include by web browsers, by zipped .ply file, and by zipped .obj file.

Biodiversity Heritage Library

http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/

From the site: “The Biodiversity Heritage Library (BHL) is a consortium of natural history and botanical libraries that cooperate to digitize and make accessible the legacy literature of biodiversity held in their collections and to make that literature available for open access and responsible use as a part of a global “biodiversity commons.” BHL content may be freely viewed through the online reader or downloaded in part or as a complete work in PDF, OCR text, or JPG2000 file formats. ” Browsing is available by Title, Author, Subject, and Year. Searching can be done by Author, Subject, Scientific Name, and Book/Journal Title. The record or the full book can be viewed. More than 53,000 titles and 102,000 volumes can be browsed or searched, including over 1 million species. Rare scientific texts are also shown.

The Plant List

http://www.theplantlist.org/

The Plant List is a working database that identifies more than 1.25 million different plants by their accepted Latin names.  It includes all known species of angiosperms, gymnosperms, pteridophytes, and bryophytes.  It does not include algae, fungi, and fossil plants.  This list was generated by the Royal Botanical Gardens with the assistance of the Missouri Botanical Garden.  Plants are not listed by their common or vernacular names.

ARKive: Images of Life on Earth

www.arkive.org

This is a wonderful collection of thousands of images and video clips of threatened and endangered animals from around the world.  Besides colorful photos, for most animals video clips are also available.  Users can also learn more about each animal: Facts & Status, Description, Range & Habitat, Biology, Threats & Conservation, and more.