Friday mystery object #156 This week I have a fragmentary bit of critter for you to identify: Any idea what this might be? You can leave your suggestions, observations and questions below and I’ll do my best to reply. Good luck! Share this:PrintEmailTwitterFacebookRedditLinkedInPinterestLike this:Like Loading... Related
Looks like the sinus cavity of something land-based.
Not a bad start!
Very challenging. All I can say at the moment is small mammal, don’t recognise it as a UK species. Nasal bones are long and distinctive, with that inverted V shape at the front end, which reminds me of something I can’t accurately recall . Cranium shape and ridging is also very unusual. Is it m*rs*pi*l, by any chance? That’s a very wild guess.
It’s not a marsupial, although you’re right about it being a small mammal. I expect you may have seen one of these before…
Your suggestion that I may have seen one before, rather points us back towards a UK or at least a European species!
Now I’ve had the chance to look at the photo on a monitor rather than my phone, I note what appears to be a concave area around the rear end if the nasal bones. No one has as yet commented on the dark blobs of soft tissue- is that what they are, or are they
….. the sticky remains of where the specimen had been attached to something else? There appears to be another concave area where the supra orbital ridges join on the midline. These features are really baffling me!
The sticky remains are where it was once mounted on a wall for display – long, long ago…
From the shape of the sutures, a Canidae?
I can see where you’re coming from, but no, not a canid.
I’m laughably unqualified to even guess, but Ric Morris’ pointing out the V-shaped nasals made me think they might house some sort of tiny little trunk, so maybe it’s a S***i?
Like the rationale, but it’s not a Sengi
Looks like a monotreme? Echidna maybe?
Not a monotreme I’m afraid!
Well, it looks like it’s been hit by a car, so E.e?
Although the size is about right, I can’t really see this as E. e… as the nasal bones seem a bit wide and the sutures a bit too neat. My E e skull sutures are squiggling all over the place and the nasals are narrow in the middle and flaring towards the snout.
Ric, I see what you mean about the nasal bones, but I think that if the maxilla and premaxilla were in place they would cover the nasals to some extent & give them the shape you describe.
Also, I didn’t know this, but have now checked: E.e. has some immunity against snake venom (see Poalo’s comment below).
So, I stand by my ID.
Sorry, that should be “Paolo” of course.
Interesting argument. All Paolo’s clues about common nature of the mammal and snake venom immunity point in that direction. Do check my Flickr page (SMG_Skullboy) for hedgehog skull pix showing the feature I described.
Yes, some very squiggley sutures you have there. But I think they are within the bounds of species variation. Take a look at some other examples via a Google/Bing image search.
I like the idea that being a potential road fatality might be a diagnostic feature!
Inspired to some extent by your recent comment about the cat skull – no one would cut up a valuable specimen – I’m applying a new holistic approach.
Does it eat ants?
Not so much
My first thought was ‘echidna’. But I see from the above that it’s not. Some kind of anteater – edentate?
Not an anteater or edentate I’m afraid
Based on the under curvature of the rosturm I was thinking rodent. The two protrusions on the head lead me to think jackolope, however do the rarity of the jackolopes and the fact that the lower half has been cut I came to the conclusion that it is likely a common animal, because you don’t want to saw your good skulls in half. I am going with a Mirotus.
Not a rodent I’m afraid. Wish it was a Jackalope!
Honestly, I don’t have much of an idea. Going by the scale, it’s an animal that’s about cat-sized. Not that I think it *is* a cat, mind you. I dunno… is it afraid of snakes, maybe?
Great question! Most mammals are afraid of snakes, but this chap is apparently pretty adept at dealing with the venomous serpents it comes across.
Hmm… perhaps my veiled guess was a little *too* veiled 🙂 In any even,t if (as you say below) it’s not a great digger, it isn’t what I was thinking of, anyway. If you suggest its good at dealing with snakes, though, that inclines me towards… uh… something that sounds like it ought to be a wasp? (Or is that too tangential a guess, again?)
Because that’s around the right size, and I can’t find a good enough picture of the skull to convince me it’s definitely not one…
Is this critter by chance polydactyl, with an extra thumb or prepollex?
Nope, the usual number, so not a Mole… or a Panda!
Crazy guess: Dasypodidae
Nah, that’s just crazy! 😉
hmmm…Talpidae? Gah. Tough one.
Nope – not such a great digger.
Oh not a great digger…..I was going to suggest S…….s……..
Does it “gotta go fast”?
My final guess is Erinaceinae, though I’m probably way off.:S
I second this ID. Clearly I need to study up on non-North American species!
Yeah, I think you’re probably right. Though as much from the clues as from any anatomical ability on my part 🙂
Oh yes, I’m basing this almost entirely on clues with photo verification as much as available. Partial skull with only 2 views and an exotic? Best guess is as good as it gets.
My wild guess is skunk ?