Collegiate Competitors (aka. When Football meets Zoology. Part 1 of... )
Q: College (American) football season is in full swing! The two species below are going head to head this Saturday, but let’s see who can Name That Species from the photos below.
Bonus: Give the name of each mascot for fricking fantastic football points!
That’s right, both of these skulls belong to the Old English Bulldog!
Originally selected for the sport of bull-baiting, this once athletic powerhouse pooch underwent a huge transformation when the gruesome sport was outlawed! (x)
The modern day Bulldog faces a variety of genetic health concerns like cleft palate, brachycephalic syndrome (and a host of associated respiratory problems), hip dysplasia, birth complications, and more.
The Diamondback Terrapin (Malaclemys terrapin) is not only the mascot for the University of Maryland (College Park), but also the Maryland State Reptile!
Once considered a popular delicacy, these terrapins were almost driven to extinction in the early 1900’s. The population was so over hunted by 1920, that terps from the Chesapeake Bay would sell for $125 / dozen! (x)
Strangely enough, the population struck a lucky break with Prohibition and the Great Depression. Sherry was a main ingredient in terrapin soup (/stew), and the economic downturn meant that people weren’t able to afford terrapin meat. (x)
Nowadays, the biggest threat to terrapin conservation is habitat loss and bycatch deaths. Fishermen are encouraged to install Bycatch Reduction Devices into their crab pots to help conserve these fantastic creatures.
UMD’s mascot, Testudo, with one of his many bronze statues around the College Park campus.
(Throwback picture of me and Duke Dog’s statue back in 2010!)