The Natural History Gallery at the Horniman has been undergoing a bit of a spring clean. The lighting in the cases has been upgraded and during the process the cases and specimens have been dusted (very carefully mind). During the process I’ve spotted a few of our display specimens from unusual angles and out of their usual context. Here is an example of a nice one that I thought might make a nice mystery object:
So any ideas what this is?
Put your suggestions and questions in the comments section below and I will do my best to point you in the right direction without giving too much away. Have fun with it!
This one looks hard, after staring at it for a while, I think it might be an **** skull.
Sorry, meant **** **** ****.
Wow, how on earth did you get that?
Can I ask how big it is?
It probably came in to the collection via the suppliers Shluter & Mass of Halle, or Edward Gerrard & Son.
It’s 20 cm in length (that’s 8 inches for the Americans and my parents…).
Erm.. Not sure. I stared at it for ages trying to make sense of the shape. there were a couple of clues to the family, and one of the details was a bit of a give-away.
well I’m stumped. I don’t know enough about bones to be able to pick anything out for a reasonable guess. I will return later once I have done some research.
Yes, thank you … I didn’t even think it was a skull, I thought it was a hip joint … but having been mentioned I suppose I should have a go …
If it’s a skull the only vaguely intelligent comment I can think of is that maybe that bit sticking out to the left is not the neck attachment, as I first thought, but the anchor for a large appendix like a trunk or snout. But 8 inches is very small for an elephant, even a baby one. So an anteater or something like that?
There’s no trunk or snout beyond what you see… although you are correct in that the bit to the left is indeed not the neck and it is what the animal breathes through!
Ah ha… that is a funny looking nose … more like a funnel … it’s not a dolphin is it?
Not a dolphin, although this animal does spend lots of time in the water.
Oh blumming eck its not a human skull is it?
Nope, not human
gonna say ape skull then?
It’s not a primate of any type
Well someone seems to have helpfully cut the thing up so the teeth (or at least where the teeth should be) is missing. Which is annoying. Um. Is it a rodent?
Not a rodent.
Don’t you just love sections? Then again – you are assuming that it has teeth…
A bit of a turtle skull perhaps?