Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Students Wild for Facts about Real Jaguars Discussion Debunks Myths

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Students Wild for Facts about Real Jaguars Discussion Debunks Myths

Article excerpt

ORANGE PARK -- Surely, this can't be.

Everyone knows Jaguars roar. The cheerleading team for the Jaguars football team is called The Roar, for goodness sake.

But there was Marie Lybrook, the Orange Park Elementary School "Picture Lady," as part of her show-and-tell art presentation about jaguars to two second-grade classes, explaining that jaguars don't, in fact, roar.

"It is the only big cat that doesn't roar. It makes a lot of grunts and hisses and howls," she said. "It doesn't roar loud like a lion."

Lybrook played an audio tape of a jaguar to illustrate.

"It sounds to me like its got something stuck in the back of its throat," she said.

Then she played a tape of a lion roaring.

Some of the second-graders were duly impressed.

"The lion sounds louder than the jaguar when it roars," said student Kenneth McDonald.

Still, some of the students were unsure about the distinction.

"The lion roars, but the jaguar doesn't? Sometimes it's hard to tell the difference," said student Kayla Wainwright.

The jaguars' lack of roaring capability was not the only myth about the animal that Lybrook debunked. It seems many depictions of the jaguar's coat incorrectly show its spots, she said.

The spots on the animal's body, she said, are not simple circular spots, but are "rosettas," spots within spots. "The spots kind of look like doughnuts . . . Circles with splotches on the inside," she said. "If a picture of a Jaguar does not have those rosettas, it really isn't a picture of a jaguar."

Steering the students down the straight and narrow path about jaguars was Lybrook's mission Tuesday as she visited the second-grade classes of teachers Valarie Griggs and Judy Jordan. Lybrook is part of the Clay County school district's Art Enrichment Program, which uses volunteers to expose elementary-age students to art and sculpture.

Lybrook, in addition to sharing data about jaguars, brought along sculptures of the animal, using them to explain its role in the ancient Mayan culture of South America.

"Jaguars were around long before the Jaguars football team was around, for thousands and thousands of years," she said. …

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