This Friday I am not going to provide any scale bar with the object. This is something that I have to deal with quite often, when members of the public email a photo of something for identification. Sometimes it’s not a big problem, particularly if the whole organism is in view and it’s has distinctive morphology (shape), but in some instances (particularly with bones) it can make identification very tricky indeed. Let’s see how you do:
Any idea what this might be?
Put your questions, comments and suggestions below and I’ll do my best to provide answers (except about size). Good luck!
I think it’s very big and it’s beary.
Black bear ? I looked at a brown bear but the saggital crest looked too big.
I can see where you’re coming from Jake, but it’s not a bear
Is the lower molar out of view hidden behind the huge upper carnassial (fourth premolar)?
Just for others to follow through, the presence of carnassials indicate its a carnivore. The curved robust mandible is quite distinctive. And the jagged arrangement of the lower teeth (i.e. not in a straight line is also quite unique.
I knew you’d cause trouble with this one. I’m pretty sure you know what this is already – in fact I think you’ve even seen the specimen…
The lower molar is indeed hidden by the upper 4th molar.
Oh Paolo, you didn’t dig up Phaedra did you?
She’d by stained green from all the copper in the small coins that went on top of her.
About to clear off for the weekend, so haven’t got time to think up clever hints, sorry! I think it’s a Wolverine skull.
I can see why, but that’s not it.
I love these skulls! You wouldn’t have to scavenge around very much to spot something more adapted to munching bones.
I wish we had a Fossa – that’s one of the more obvious holes in our Carnivore skull collection.
That’s a “no” by the way!
I really chuckled when I saw this. Laughed out loud. Cackled even.
I’ll be very embarassed if I’ve ID’d this wrong!
No need to be embarassed.
Phew. Glad I spotted it.
Subtle – I like it!
Van Diemen’s Demon?
There are functional similarities between this skull and that of Sarcophilus, but this is not even a close relative…
I think it’s a hyena-Crocuta crocuta
Hmm. Tricky without a scale bar. There’s three species in two genera that it could be. I’ll say its Crocuta crocuta, the general proportions on the other species don’t look quite right.
I know it’s not a bear now but it still looks like a bear to me because of the four cheek teeth and the hook on the jaw and the bits round the eyes and because it looks like a bit of a scary animal. What are the bits where you can tell it isn’t really a bear ? I can’t tell.