April 11, 2011

What’s eating you?

Maybe I’m somewhat biased, but there are a lot of really cool things to see at the Burke Museum. Looking around at all of the amazing collections, you may wonder: how do these different things connect to each other? Well, that’s a complicated question, but being an avid organism-enthusiast, I can answer part of that question with another question: which of these organisms would eat each other?

In our Life and Times of Washington State exhibit, there are several fossils that when living would have found each other to be tasty treats. This early jawed fish preyed on trilobites and lamp shells.

Moving along several million years, the saber tooth cats of the last Ice Age, the geological time called the Pleistocene Epoch (2 million to 10,000 years ago), ate sloths.

These giant sloths were a formidable predator as well… to plants.

Fast-forward to today, and this beaver from the mammalogy collection likes to eat the bark of many different types of trees.  Step outside the Burke on a nice day to check out the Erna Gunther Ethnobotanical Garden and you’ll see the paper birch, a favorite meal of beavers.

So there you have it, a look at the Burke’s ecological buffet.

Posted By: Andrea Barber