Salamanders and a Working Mannequin of a Snake’s Venom Fang

Professor Amanda Callaghan of the College of Studying contacted me not too long ago. She is Curator of the Cole Museum of Zoology which moved into new premises in 2020. The museum is uncommon for a college departmental museum in that the gathering has survived intact since its heyday within the 1906-1939 tenure of Francis Joseph Cole FRS (1872-1959) as professor of zoology. Throughout the transfer Amanda had come throughout specimens and displays ready or donated by Eric Thomas Brazil Francis (1900-1993). In desirous to know extra about him she got here throughout the  articles I had written on this web site (right here, right here and right here). Francis was an undergraduate and postgraduate pupil in Studying who labored carefully with Coles and Nellie Barbara Eales (1889-1989).

A search of {the catalogue} exhibits 59 specimens within the assortment attributed to Eric Francis. Some relate on to his doctoral work and e book, The Anatomy of the Salamander, revealed in 1933 (reprinted by the Society for the Research of Amphibians and Reptiles within the USA in 2002), for instance the hyoid of Salamandra salamandra (usually identified within the early a long time of the twentieth century by Schreiber’s title for the species, S. maculata). There are anatomical specimens from plenty of birds and mammals and even a couple of invertebrates. A extra uncommon exhibit is proven within the {photograph}. It’s a brass mannequin of the fang-erecting mechanism of vipers, ‘made and offered by Mr Eric Thomas Brazil Francis’. {The catalogue} entry is proven in a footnote beneath.

Mannequin of Fang-erecting Mechanism

Francis left Studying to turn out to be Assistant Lecturer in Sheffield in 1933. John Ebling in his obituary of Francis (included right here) wrote that he graduated from Studying in 1929 and obtained his PhD in 1933. Since he was known as Mr and never Dr within the museum catalogue, I feel we will be fairly certain that the mannequin was made someday between the late Nineteen Twenties and 1933.

I had assumed that Francis had been an undergraduate in Studying from shortly after the First World Struggle (when it was a college faculty and needed to award exterior London levels). Nonetheless, the 1921 Census is now obtainable and exhibits that ETBF was working as a ‘Fruit and Poultry Farmer’ within the employment of his father at Hill Crest, Rotherfield Peppard, Oxfordshire. 4½ miles north of Studying. He was then 21. Since he graduated in 1929 it could appear that he was a late starter as a college pupil and that he was registered as an exterior pupil of London earlier than Studying achieved college standing in 1926. It could appear that though his first diploma was awarded in 1929 he needed to stay on London’s books till commencement.

My guess is that the dissections of pheasants within the assortment, ready by ETBF, have been from his father’s farm since within the 1911 and 1921 censuses Thomas Brazil Francis is proven as Recreation Farm Supervisor in addition to, in 1921, proudly owning his personal fruit and poultry farm.

{The catalogue} of specimens within the Cole Museum will be discovered right here. There’s additionally details about public opening hours and entry to the gathering:

The Cole Museum of Zoology represents a snapshot of animal range within the early twentieth century and has at all times been used to show zoology and comparative anatomy. The Museum is house to hundreds of specimens of nice zoological significance, together with taxidermy, skeletons, histological preparations, fluid-preserved dissections, fossil materials, casts, and a few excellent fashions of developmental levels and extinct animals.

Cole Museum of Zoology – from the web site

After I noticed the {photograph} of the mannequin of the snake’s jaw, I realised I had seen one thing very comparable. Extra on this within the subsequent article.


{The catalogue} entry for the mannequin:

The bones of 1 facet solely are represented. No enamel apart from the poison-fang are shewn. All components that may unnecessarily complicate the mannequin have been omitted. The situation represented is that present in Crotalus and Ancistrodon. which have however a single fang. The Viperinae have plenty of reserve fangs as well as, however the mechanism is actually the identical. The morphological modifications which have occurred to carry concerning the motion of the maxillary bone and its related enamel are: the nice shortening of the maxilla from entrance to rear with the ensuing elongation of the os transversum (ectopterygoid) and the extraordinarily free horizontal articulation between these two bones; the abbreviation of the palatine bone. and the freely cellular joint between it and the pterygoid (endopterygoid); and the articulation of the maxilla and the prefrontal being similar to to permit the previous to be rotated and erected simply, whereas the prefronto-frontal joint is a restricted one. The os transversum is firmly united to the pterygoid. The erection of the fang is effected by the spheno-pterygoid muscle (represented by the sliding vertical rod within the mannequin) which originates within the sphenoid crest on the base of the skull and, working backwards and outwards, is inserted into the moveable pterygoid plate. The fang is retracted by the contraction of the ectopterygoid muscle (represented by a spring) which arises from the quadrato-mandibular joint and is inserted into the maxillary bone. The squamosal and its articulation with the quadrate and the sliding-surface articulation of the squamosal with the parietal have been omitted, additionally the ligamentous attachment of the pterygoid to the quadrato-mandibular joint. The benefit to the animal of this elaborate mechanism is that it’s enabled to develop an extended fang and so to implant its venom extra deeply in its sufferer. Word that the orifices of the fang are usually not terminal. thus revealing the best way by which the duct has arisen by a flattening of the fang and the curling over of the perimeters to satisfy and fuse and type a closed tube. These front-fanged snakes exhibiting such a fang are termed Solenoglypha, whereas these whose fangs shew an open groove are termed Proteroglypha. The connection between the duct within the fang and that within the maxilla is effected by a membranous sheath surrounding the bottom of the fang. Cf. No.

1744. See Noguchi. Snake Venoms. p. 64. Plates 21 and 22. Carnegie Inst. Wash. 1909

The Noguchi e book will be discovered on-line within the Biodiversity Heritage Library right here.

The usage of ‘shew’ as an alternative of ‘present’ jogs my memory that ETBF at all times this manner in his notes. Opposite to statements on-line that ‘shew’ had turn out to be out of date earlier, it was nonetheless in widespread use properly into the twentieth century and plenty of lecturers would by no means have used ‘present’ as a substitute.

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