This Friday we have a guest mystery object from the newly reopened (and rather fantastic) Grant Museum of Zoology:
I got this one wrong when I first saw it – I hope you manage to do better!
I’ll do my best to give clues and answers to questions during the day, but hopefully Mark and Jack from the Grant will be able to provide some guidance as well. More about the awesome new Grant Museum on Monday with the answer. Good luck!
It looks like something that has been sawn through.
The rings look like the rings of a tree when it grows. If this is bone, it must have grown like that, or a new layer kept going on the outside. Bone doesn’t normally grow like that.
The middle bit looks a bit like a vertebra.
Great observations Jake – it hasn’t been sawn through, but you’re right about the bone having growth rings. The middle bit does look like a bit like vertebra, but it’s not one!
My first thought is that it looks kind of like a plastron (viewed dorsally, perhaps)… but I can’t think of anything that would have one with such an odd shape. Hmm…
I’m beginning to wonder if it’s actually a whole animal (again, viewed dorsally) and those are callosities of some kind we’re looking at, with the smoother stuff in between being leathery skin – although possibly only leathery as an artefact of the preservation.
Your second thought is not as close as the first…
Yes, I’d begun to move back towards my first theory. The question is, of course, from what species? Assuming it’s an adult, we can cut out a range of sizes from either end of the scale. If it’s not been sawn through at any point, I think that would rather imply there’s no bridge between the plastron and the carapace, which narrows it down further. (Can’t think of to what at the moment…)
It looks like a peculiar axis vertebra.
I sort of see what you mean – but it’s not.
So we’re looking at the rear view here: we can see the little brass/copper hangings from when this was on display.
It’s an attractive squashed frog shape, whatever it is!
Definitely looks like something that’s been sectioned, but then you have those weird rugose bits, which you surely wouldn’t see if it had been cut?
Going to have to think about this one.
You’re right – you wouldn’t get that rugosity if it had been cut.
This looks like an animal that has been taken out of it’s shell like a small tortoise.
I suspect a peeled tortoise would look rather messier than this. You’d have to rip the poor thing’s backbone and ribs out, for a start, since they’re part of the shell.
We have some peeled tortoises in jars – they are very messy indeed!
I reckon it’s a squashed toad, more careless curating 😉
At least that couldn’t be my fault on this occasion!
Now to me, it looks like it’s made of wood. I have seen felled trees which have had branches lopped off at different times so wood, or even fungus, has grown around the original cut. So I would have said a section through a tree that had originally been coppiced and then felled, except Zygoma would not have got that wrong ….
I hope I wouldn’t! It’s definitely animal rather than plant, although the growth rings are a bit misleading.
My first thought was Yoda’s foot, though seems a little unlikely…
At the moment, I’m sort of torn between a foot and a vertebrae, though the small lumps on the 5/6 outer flat parts make me think of teeth or grinding plates…?
Yoda’s foot it is! Oh, wait…
Neither a foot nor a vertebra.
Was I heading in the right direction with teeth/grinding?
nope – afraid not
Ventral view of some frog type beast that sticks very soundly to some sort of surface? e.g. has to withstand force of a waterfall or something, where thumbs and fingers would be a fat lot of use..
That would be very cool indeed – but alas, no.
definitely a sawed through turtle shell, viewed from the inside, looking out at the plastron from the inside. it’s a small plastron, like that of an adult snapping turtle or alligator snapping turtle. I’d have to open a book and compare plastrons to find the specific species. Not too many have this small kind of plastron. Musk turtles also have small plastrons, but this looks a lot bigger than all the musk turtles. Then again, there aren’t enough growth rings in the bones to be a really huge snapper.
Looks like a wooden frog. I’m sure it isn’t, but that’s what it looks like to me.
I can see that – it also looks a bit like games controller…
Looks like the underside of a, foot, possibly a camel?
Yoda’s foot was closer…
I’m sure this is skin, dried out and stretched. In the top right of the image there seem to be some little protuberances that look a little like teeth or claws.
So maybe we’re looking at some sort of reptile, skinned and dried out? That has armour-like pads on it?
Not too far off, although not quite there either.
Hmmm people seem to be having difficulty with this one so I’ll give you a clue.
It isn’t a headcrab http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Headcrab from Valve’s Half Life series.
I think it looks more like Yoda’s foot still.
Some very close guesses so far. Very close.
I’m going to shoot down the flattened frog theory though.
Also, it hasn’t been sawn through – it is a complete part of an animal.
Shooting down the flattened frog – as if it didn’t have troubles enough already.
When this animal was alive, those rugose bones where covered with cartilage?
They were not.
Is it the ventral view of the foot of a rhino or a tapier? I’d go with rhino.
Not a foot I’m afraid
Either that or it might be the crown of a very strange tooth!
or a tooth!
It’s something fishy about this one
That’s what I thought, but I was wrong…