Friday mystery object #2 answer

The mystery object I showed you on Friday was this:

mystery object #2b

Despite a range of inventive and highly plausible(?) proposed identifications, ranging from lunch to Mike Tyson’s ear, Lifelinking earns a plethora of kudos for the correct identification that this is a whale’s tympanic bulla (which houses the structure that helps transfer soundwaves to the cochlea). I’m uncertain of the species of whale it comes from myself, since the specimen has  no label, but I have a suspicion that it probably belongs to a sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus).

There is a good description of how this structure works at Retrospectacle.

This Friday I will post another mystery object – but this time I’ll give you the choice between an odd-one out lineup or a really tricky object identification. Preferences below!

One thought on “Friday mystery object #2 answer

  1. I thought this was going to be an entire organism, so was looking at sponges and sea squirts. Those animals – I have at least learnt they’re not plants – tend to have a round opening or two, and not really a shell-like* structure.
    *Hey, if I’d had this chain of thought maybe “shell-like” (slang for ear) may have led somewhere.
    In the future, sort of, there’s a skull of harbour seal which taught me the ‘lump of chewing gum’ is actually called the tympanic bulla – it obviously didn’t help though. Difficult.

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