Monday, August 04, 2008


Saturday was the zoo-day for Gary's workplace. No, they weren't all supposed to act like monkeys that day. It was a day AT the zoo for employees and their families, with the company paying for tickets, parking, train rides, sea lion show, lunch, etc. It was a perfect day; you couldn't have ordered-up better weather. The lunch was great, with Asian, Mexican, Italian, and American buffets, fresh fruit, drinks (alcoholic and non), and loads of ice-cream treats.

We have been accustomed to enjoying the Madison zoo, and I love that place. The Milwaukee zoo is bigger and more spread out. (That leaves you tireder when you get home that night. LOL.) Because we attended some of the entertainment at the zoo rather than just watching animals, we were surprised to see how much environmental propaganda is interwoven with the scientific "facts" on the cage-labels and in the narration at the sea-lion show.

Andrew and Paul and I were keeping an eye on scientific names of animals and trying to make sense of them. One of the songs from our science CDs teaches us about "kingdom, phylum, class, order, family, genus, and species make the name, you see." We were beginning to get confused, as the "panther" genus includes the species of lions and tigers and bears, oh my (NO) leopards and jaguars. But not cheetahs. And not (interestingly enough!) panthers. Panthers and cheetahs, though, join the others in the feline family. Wondering what the other scientific classifications were, we knew it was the animal kingdom, and Wikipedia showed us that the phylum is the group with spinal columns, while the class is mammals, and the order is carnivores. Other classes of vertebrates are groupings such as birds, reptiles, amphibians, and fish. It's been interesting trying to make sense of these categories, such as chamomile being in the plant kingdom, the division/phylum of plants that flower, the class of composite flowers, and the order of asters or ray-flowers. I think too many of the items in my "100 species" posts are actually a genus instead of a species. Oh well. At least we're narrowing down the items, so that we call it something more precise than just "a plant"!

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