Update from Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Graduate Student Blair Roberts on her fieldwork in Kenya:
My research project requires that I be able to identify individual female Thomson's gazelles (or Tommies) and pick them out of a herd. This is exactly as difficult as it sounds. Their facial markings vary, but the skittish and petite gazelles are often too far from my car for me to get a close enough look, even with a good pair of binoculars. Luckily, the Tommies' horns vary widely in shape. The "normal" shape is two parallel, relatively straight spikes, but I see horns twisted and turned into many unique shapes. These irregular horns allow me to identify individuals. I photograph each of my study animals and, using my Essex, have created a sort of "mugshot book" of study subjects. That way I have a quick reminder of what horn shapes I am looking for while out in the field.
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