This week I have a specimen from the Horniman stores for you to take a shot at identifying. It’s missing some teeth and the mandible, which might make it a bit harder than usual, but the shape is very distinctive, so I expect someone will get it pretty quickly:
As usual you can put your questions, comments and suggestions below.
The general shape isn’t too far off, but note the scale-bar…
NB you may need to click on the photo to see the scale bar.
It’d have to be a massive mole with super powers !
Is it too small to be something sealy ?
It does look like some sort of seal
Brilliant – the adventures of Mega Mole!
Your suggestion of something sealy is a bit closer to the mark.
Hmm. Mammal obviously. The skull’s too short and deep at the front for most of the “insectivores” I can think of- so itr probably one of the ones I can’t. Its got upper incisors so it isn’t one of your more typical ungulates, and the canines look too small for most of the carnivorans too.
I think I agree with Jake and Manabu. Its small though. Common Seal? One of those little Monk Seal maybe?
Not a Monk Seal
…or a Common Seal
Could it be the hooked-nosed sea pig?
The flatness (?!) makes me think of an American Mink skull, but it’s way too big for one..
Similar in flatness and squarity (now there’s a non-word), but way too big.
That’s easy; it’s a skull.
Actually, since the mandible is missing this is just a cranium rather than a skull…
Had one of those before – they’re a fair bit bigger.
It’s a Roman-nosed carnivore of medium-large size… Anything terrestrial of that size would have bigger canines and a more ‘elegant’ profile (science-y words, me), so I’m going to go with Metal Dave on this one, and say it’s a hooked-nosed sea pig.
is it a manatee??
Their nasal opening is even bigger and more dorsally orientated than this!
Still too big – although there are similarities in shape.
I was going to go with otter – but how about some type of harbor seal. Is that the same as a common seal?
Yep – Common Seals and Harbour seals are the same thing.
Assuming the hint posts are accurate (and I think they are, and the winks seem to confirm that), then I’ve had the pleasure of getting very close to one of these. When it was alive. It was a very cold experience!
Awesome! I found a cub on the beach in Wales once, but I’ve not been near an adult in the wild.
I’ve elaborated in the answer thread. It just popped up next to me while I was swimming in Northumbria.
First impressions are usually informative, and my first impression was ‘bear’. But further inspection suggests that Dave Godfrey had it right. Definitely the hook-nosed sea pig. Get them off the coast of around here from time to time.
I can see what you mean about it looking a bit beary.
Darn. Late to the party. I remember being pretty impressed the first time I saw one of these skulls. Not surprising that they take birds now and then.
Not surprising at all – I’d watch my fingers around one of these…
So, as others have already said, the position of the nostrils suggests something aquatic, and the teeth suggest something carnivorous.
And, after that, well, let’s just fade to grey…
Grey, but with spots.
I don’t have one myself but I recognised it from the dermestid beetle tanks at CAHID in Dundee:
(9th picture down)
It looks like you may also be holding it in the first picture! Well recognised 🙂
Distinguishing between seals is a rather gray area of identification…..
…… I’m really bad at these clues things…
Oooh, that was pretty bad… but good nonetheless! I love a bad pun.