On Friday I gave you this object from the Horniman collections to identify:
It’s fairly obvious that it’s a claw, but the question is what is it a claw from?
This claw was originally identified as being from a big cat of some kind, but it isn’t the right shape. A big cat claw has a thicker body with an acute sharp point – as with this Tiger claw:
Although different from the Tiger claw, the mystery claw has several similarities – mostly the fact that it’s laterally flattened. This suggests it’s from a mammal since birds have more rounded talons, as mentioned by henstridgesj. The mystery claw has a strong and long curve, that looks like an adaptation for climbing. The large size narrows it down to just a few possibilities and the little bump in the middle of the inside edge is quite distinctive.
There is a handy picture with a variety of claws that Carlos G found, which proved to be useful:
Black Bears are remarkably adept at climbing trees using these impressive claws as crampons to grip into the wood. Here’s an idea of how they use them:
Pretty remarkable for such large animals, where bigger males can weigh 250kg. That’s why climbing a tree to escape a Black Bear is a really bad idea – they’re much better climbers than people.