This Friday I am going to give you what I consider a fairly easy one, because I stumbled across it on Thursday in a box of ‘miscellaneous bone’ and I instantly thought I knew what it was. Having checked my hunch I thought I’d give you the opportunity to have a go at working it out:
Of course, I will be here to offer some guidance if you run into any difficulties (after all, not many of you have reference material to hand) – so put your questions, comments and suggestions in the box below and I’ll do my best to answer. Good luck!
I think it is some sort of big bird, it’s the braincase and and the ear.
From the size maybe emu ?
You’re certainly in the right sort of area!
I thought maybe a hip bone … now when you say area do you mean geographical, species or which bit of the body?
Ah, that would be telling!
Definitely an avian braincase with a portion of the orbit. Looks heavy and thick, the temporalis insertion on the skull is pretty high and that means a strong bite. Regarding the size of the skull I would suggest a ratite, possibly a cassowary.
Nice reasoning – I approve!
Nope, it’s not that either.
Well I’m pretty pleased that my guess of bird skull piece of some sort is of the general consensus!
It is definitely a piece of bird skull, so it’s a good guess!
As its the only ratite not yet mentioned, Ostrich?
There are other ratites that haven’t been mentioned yet that we have in our collection!
Sorry, only extant ratite in the right size range. 😉
If you hadn’t found it in the “box o’ random bones” I’d expect it to be either much more complete or sectioned. Now it could be a Moa, but I’d have thought most museums would be rather more careful about keeping tabs on their skulls. They’re not the most common bits.
You would have thought so – and generally you’d be right. However, sometimes collections go under; either the private collections of people that pass away, of companies that go bust or universities/public collections that have lost funding and/or have had their space reallocated. There is then a mad rush to rescue the objects from being disposed of – some collection have literally been taken out of a skip.
When this happens there will often be boxes of ‘bits’ that there simply hasn’t been the time to sort out due to the sudden, rapid influx of hundreds of objects. I have encountered many boxes in many museums that fit this category and they can contain anything.
From this picture:
the ostrich groove doesn’t look as square as the one in this post.
The cassowary groove is bigger but you can’t see the crest in Paolos picture:
I don’t think it’s an emu skull and I can’t find a picture of a rhea skull.
PS. If anyone knows anything about roe deer skulls, can you tell me if I worked out the age of this one right ?
I think it’s now maybe 2 years, not 13 months, because it is so different from my eight month roe skull.
PPS. Thanks for my link on your website, Paolo !
You’re welcome – thanks for writing such interesting posts on your blog!