This week I’m going to give you an object that’s on display at the Horniman Museum. Whenever I see this specimen I’m reminded of the diversity of life that is out there in the wider world, that we never consider normally. Any idea what this skeleton belongs to?
As usual, I will do my best to reply to your questions, observations and suggestions in the comments section below.
Is it a monotreme ? That’s because of the skull. I think the legs are wrong for a monotreme, though.
Not a monotreme – although I can see why you make that suggestion, the skull does look similar.
I see one eye and two fingers.
Weird looking ribcage there, front claws reminiscent of an anteater
They are indeed – very similar…
What a smooth little critter!
Looks lizard like to me, though the skull is a bit odd, like it has no eyes!
I had been thinking “Something which rolls up”, but comments from Neil and Jack seem to have thrown me from that.
Yeah, just got their clues. Excellent!
Is it bad karma to just type the answer?
Generally it’s appreciated if the answer can be communicated with fun hints and clues when possible – but you can just type a suggestion if you like (I may however change it to read CORRECT ANSWER if you have it right).
Not a Pangolin – although they fill a very similar niche on a different continent, so they share a lot of similarities in morphology.
I love these little guys. They have such lovely silky coats!
They most certainly do!
As a non-biologist I really appreciate the clues from the knowledgeable on the easier ones. So if I happen to get it right I am really pleased! It’s no fun if someone who knows their stuff gives the answer straight away – but sometimes the object is a mystery even to them.
Ah, I see. Maybe their coats are so soft because of their specific dietary habits?
I’m not sure – it may be beneficial for preventing attacks by what this little fella feeds on. It’s just be because these animals are quite small and need an efficient mechanism to maintain body heat.
I was thinking it was a silky anteater
Does it normally hang around a lot?
Quite a bit!
Close, but no cigar sir.
Dammit! I thought I’d finally got a FMO after years of trying! Looking at some other posts it’s a creature I’ve blasted written about too isn’t it!
at first feet looked like a sloth, then I though they might be zygodactylous, which means this could be in the family with the rest of the Old World Chameleons. I’d need to see the skull better, and the teeth to nail it.
The feet are not zygodactylus and the skull is unfenestrated
Looks like a giant armadillo-Priodontes maximus?
Ah, but the specimen is only about 40cm long!
Is it a fairy armadillo?
They have a very short tail with a plate – this has a huge long tail, so nope.
Hmmm. Thought not. Could it possibly be an armoured shrew (Scutisorex)?
Nope – although I wish it was, they have one of the most fascinating skeletons I’ve ever seen!
It looks like a silky anteater to me. (I say this without having read any other comments to this post, so this may already have been ruled out… but that was my immediate thought on seeing it).
I can’t work it out yet but I think it’s an anteater
You’re definitely on the right track!