This will be my first (an hopefully only) mystery object answer that doesn’t really provide much of an answer. As I mentioned on Friday I am currently researching the construction of this object:
So far I have made good headway in working out what it’s not made of, but there are still a wide range of possible materials that could make it up. The specimen was CT scanned in an effort to get to the bottom of this issue, but it takes time for data to be processed and we may be waiting another week or two before I have the snazzy results needed to reconstruct how this is put together. Needless to say I will provide a full detailed post once the results are in.
Nonetheless, I have been able to work out some things about the specimen, much of which has been picked up by my eagle-eyed readers. The specimen is a Feejee mermaid (or a Japanese Monkey Fish) as spotted by Jake, these gaffs have been in circulation for a long time, although I’ll have more to say on their history when I dedicate a full-blown ‘blessay’ to this bizarre object. For now I will simply say that the tail is indeed from a fish (species yet to be ascertained) and the torso and skull are not from a monkey. I think the jaws may be from something like a wolf fish, based on the structure of the front teeth, but the 3D model derived from the CT scan will hopefully provide the information to make a more confident identification. Needless to say it’s not a real mermaid.
I apologise for not having a more informative answer this week, but rest assured that I will more than make up for it once the CT data come through. All that remains for now is to thank everyone for their comments, which are incredibly heartening and helpful – I will certainly be following up some of your suggestions, so this will be a bit of online community curation when finished. Please feel free to keep making suggestions – I will make sure that due credit is given where I follow up on an interesting observation.
More generally I will keep the Friday mystery object running and I’ll certainly try to include a broader range of objects. Thanks for all of your support!