Friday mystery object #60 answer


On Friday I gave you this skull to identify from box NH.83.1:

Unfortunately I’ve not been able to respond to comments and this answer is a little late (and short) because I’ve been at a wedding in Ireland (for anyone who knows what this entails you will understand…). I will take the time to respond to comments and elaborate on answers when I get back home and have managed to get more than a couple of hours sleep.

For now I will say that Steven D. Garber, PhD suggested that this was a petrel skull, probably for the reason posited by Cromercrox – it has a tube nose and is therefore from the Order Procellariiformes. David Craven noticed that the skull is too small for an albatross and the beak is too broad at the base to belong to a storm-petrel – both being excellent observations, but the concluding suggestion of something from the Pterodroma was slightly out – they’re a bit too big. A-M (via KateV) and Prancing Papio, FCD also went for species that are a bit too big, but Rachel managed to get something the right size and shape (and distribution working with SmallCasserole’s observation about the other specimens from the same collection). She suggested  the Fairy Prion Pachyptila turtur (Kuhl, 1820).

Prions have wide bills that they use to filter food from seawater, and although the Fairy Prion has a fairly narrow bill compared to the others in the Genus and it fits very well with this specimen. So well done Rachel!

I may take another delve into one of the boxes containing NH.83.1 for future mystery objects, but this week I may try to find something else.

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