Alas, my camera died after receiving a bit of a knock, so the mystery object I had planned for this week has been replaced by one of the last specimens I took a photo of:
Any idea what this specimen is, where it lives or what it might eat?
Put your suggestions, observations and questions in the comments section below and I’ll do my best to answer as the day goes on. Good luck!
It looks a lot like a capybara but the back teeth aren’t right.
Great observation! That’s also what I thought at first glance, but you’re right – the teeth are wrong for a Capybara.
Not an Agouti either…
I give up and I have to go to school so I’m going to write “THE CORRECT ANSWER” because when anyone says that you tell them they’ve got it right !
You’re a genius!
A mole (I know I’m rubbish but you’ve got to try right?)
Bit big for a mole – sorry there’s no imperial on the scale – 4cm is approximately 1.5 inches. That makes this skull bigger than a mole…
That’s a different Kate, Paolo. Not me. But I do appreciate having the scale bar and it being clearly marked as metric.
Oops! Sorry other Kate – I made an unfounded assumption there…
It’s a wise child that knows it’s mother ….
Not feeling very wise today… a bit ‘yell-shocked’ from the screaming of the younger children in the museum, they like the fact that the hall my office is attached to echoes like a swimming pool…
Think I may decamp to our collections centre if I want to achieve anything today…
obviously me too – “it’s” indeed. Disgraceful!
Is it an herbivorous Rodentia?
I think what really throws me off is the dental formula. There are 6 upper incisors and 2 lower incisors in this critter, am I right?
Hmmm … sorry for the multiple posts but this skull really intrigues me. Could this be the skull of a CORRECT ANSWER
Yes – 6 uppers and 2 lowers – well done on the speedy resolution!
My first thought was Beaver. Oh, and you can have/borrow my camera.
Beaver is another one I considered at first glance, so I see why you’d go with that – but it’s not a beaver.
Many thanks for the offer of the camera – I may well take you up on that – but only if you’re not using it!
you are very welcome. If you need it urgently for the next FMO I’ll drop it off (oops, perhaps not the best phrase under the circumstances) to Mrs V jnr on Wednesday, else you can take it next weekend.
Definitely looks rodenty to me! With a degree of circumspection I am going to search for “beaver” on the internet… that doesn’t look right.
How about marmot, maybe a younger one?
It does indeed look rodenty, but look a little closer…
Oh, by the way, when looking up “beaver” on the internet it’s safest to use the genus name “Castor”…
“Oh, by the way, when looking up “beaver” on the internet it’s safest to use the genus name “Castor”…”
HAHAHA. Beware of the Castor dentata.
Hi Paolo- your Mystery Object is just the thing to liven up a dull Friday morning. My first thought was that it was a rodent, and, looking at the scale, something big like a capybara. But rodents don’t have that many incisors, and the back teeth don’t look like they’d come from a Giant Mutant Bunny of DOOM either, so without looking at teh interwebz to help, I’m going to guess. It’s something that converges on the front teeth of rodents, but the back teeth, the snout and the general set of the thing look quite different. I think it’s a marsupial. My first guess is a wombat. My second guess, which is more outrageous, is the extinct marsupial lion Thylacoleo, which had silly buck teeth like that.
I like you’re rationale – it’s not a wombat or indeed Thylacoleo, but you are certainly approaching this from the right direction!
I’m guessing large rabbit or a hare
It’s a bit big for even the biggest Lagomorph I’ve encountered (and I’ve seen some really big lab rabbits).
I’m late in the game today, but I think it’s a Kangaroo skull, an Eastern Grey perhaps?
You’re right to go with the diprotodonta, but not macropodidae
I do look forward to Fridays, it’s great for us non-specialists to test the ID process and try resolve it down to the right answer!
Like jonpaulkaiser, the Macropods are where I went too. Dental formula is right at I-3/1. Skull is about 10cm high, which is quite large. Too large for a wallaby? Too large for the tree-kangaroos too I think…
But is that question about “What it might eat” some sort of lead into this being seomething with a more unexpected diet? Maybe not.
Okay, I’m going to go with Macropus rufus simply because it’s the largest, and this seems a fairly hefty skull.
Aha! It may be tall, but it’s not that long (which you can’t see), so you’re over-estimating the total size. Not a kangaroo…
Please please please tell me its a Wombat.
It pains me to say it, but this is not a wombat. Sorry!
At first glance, I thought lagomorph – there being too many upper incisors for a rodent. But, on second thoughts, there seem to be too many teeth in the upper jaw for that, either. So… to cut a long story short, I rather think it’s a CORRECT ANSWER.