Friday mystery object #38 answer


Friday’s object was this exploded skull:
I identified it as a hedgehog, Erinaceus europaeus Linnaeus, 1758 based on comparison with the skull (particularly the lower jaw) of a specimen that I had as a mystery object last August:

My guess is that the specimen was probably a fairly young adult, since most of the fragmentation of the skull is along suture lines. However, the disarticulation is greater than would be expected simply from a poorly fused specimen, so it looks like damage has also been sustained. Since the delicate nasal turbinates are still intact and in place, I expect the damage probably happened when they were still protected by soft tissue – making me suspect that it happened before the animal was skeletonised. Given the susceptibility of hedgehogs to getting run over, I expect that this individual was killed on the road by a glancing blow to the head that loosened teeth and sutures. I’m pleased to say that Jake agreed with my identification and cause of death for this specimen, so a hearty congratulations to him!

8 thoughts on “Friday mystery object #38 answer

    • Sorry Jake, I wrote the answer last Wednesday and posted it automatically because I was on holiday, so I didn’t know who would get it right. I will fix that now!

      • Glad you don’t think I’m a meanie!

        The dog sounds interesting – we have a few mummies in the museum (including a cat), but they’re mostly from Egypt! I’m a bit surprised you found a mummified dog in Scotland (I assume that’s where you found it) was it in a shed or cave or somewhere dry?

  1. It under a bag of something in a barn in Northern Ireland. The skin on top is dry but the skin on the bottom has rotted away. So it’s like Two-Face from Batman. Here’s a picture of it. Girls think it’s gross, so girls shouldn’t click on that link.

    We don’t know what to do with it now. I want to keep it mummified but dad’s not sure and thinks we should just take the bones out. What do you think ?

    • It depends on how and where you want to keep it. If you have somewhere really dry to keep it (where any smells wouldn’t matter too much) then I’d probably keep the skin. What you might need to do is trim away the rotted skin on the other side – it can llok really cool if you have a skeleton with the skin half on and half off… we have something like it at the museum, although it’s not mummified.

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