Friday mystery object #30 answer

On Friday I gave you a bit of an oddity from the collections of the Horniman Museum to identify:

I must admit that I used this photo because it was the most ambiguous angle I had of the specimen (I don’t want to make it too easy!), here’s a better angle:

I thought that Dave Godfrey was going to get it almost straight away with his carnivoran from a cave deposit, but fortunately for the agents of chaos opinion started to drift toward it being a coral and from there to a piece of Damien Hirst’s prep work and on to a dead rabbit covered in tripe. However, SmallCasserole came so close that I think I have to say he got it. It is indeed a dog’s head that has been calcified, but probably not at Mother Shipton’s Cave (or more accurately at the Petrifying Well) since it doesn’t have the ‘smooth’ (although still quite rough) and drippy texture associated with the flowstone tuffa deposited there, where items are suspended for petrification. This was more likely to have been calcified at the Matlock Bath Great Petrifying Well which used a fountain to spray items placed on a surface with the mineral enriched waters that allow calcium carbonates to be rapidly depositied. This dog skull probably took less than a year to become this heavily calcified. Imagine what that water would do to your kettle…

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