I can’t believe that it’s June already. That means that this is my 7th skull as my 8th month with this blog – doesn’t time fly when you’re having fun! I was trying to decide which animal to look at this for this month’s Skull of the Month and thought what about the domestic cat; I’ve done the domestic dog so why not cats?!
The domestic cat (Felis catus)is a regular in everyday life for the vast majority of people. If you don’t own one it’s usual to see a neighbours in the street or wondering around in the garden, and of course if you haven’t seen a meme with a cat then you can’t have been using the internet for long! As with dogs there are many different kinds of cat with different fur length, colour and texture but most are of a similar size. However, underneath their coat is a skeleton which varies little. This skeleton is pretty much a scaled down version of large cats to one that can happily fit in your lap!
A cat’s skull has two particular features which make it distinguishable from other mammals. These relate to the eyes and jaw. A cat’s eyes are very large, and there their skull possesses very large orbits. These are eight times large than a humans orbit in relation to their body size. This aids them to see in the dark as a larger eye allows for a larger pupil and therefore more light into the eye.
The snout is short and their jaw is wide and strong. This allows cats to have a high bite force making them more effective hunters and killers. Their jaw enables a cat to grab and crush the bones of its prey to kill it and therefore can be eaten.In the jaw are of course the teeth. As I’ve said before you can look at the teeth of an animal to work out what it eats. Animals who consume vegetation (e.g. the gorilla) have grinding teeth whilst carnivores (see the domestic dog) have sharp, pointed teeth. A quick glance at a cat’s jaw and it’s easy to see that it was born to eat meat. They have no grinding surfaces on their molars, unlike the dog, but more shearing teeth. Cats are designed to tear and cut meat which they then swallow.
The dental formula and consists of I:3/3, C:1/1, P: 3/2, M: 1/1 in the permanent set of teeth. The deciduous set is as follows I: 3/3, C: 1/1, P:3/2 where the are no molars. Cats are born without teeth with the deciduous set fully erupted within two months old. The permanent teeth come through only a few months later, by the end of months.
Well there’s and introduction to the cats skull for you. I’m going to look into the evolution of cats and a bit of their history, for example I know that they were present in Egyptian times. I also want to look a bit deeper into their anatomy to learn a bit more about them. They might also be a few posts about cats in general (including amusing pictures) because I see them everywhere on the internet! Enjoy.
Have a look at my first post about cats in Egypt – hopefully there will be more to come!
Websites used for information: