This week I have another genuine mystery object for you to have a go at identifying. I found a pair of legs in the collection and although I can think of a few things that they don’t come from, I’m a bit stumped as to what they did come from. Here’s one to give you an idea of what they look like:
Any suggestions would be appreciated!
Possibly – that’s one of the groups that I haven’t discounted yet!
It might be this: http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moa
Too small for a Moa here’s an Ostrich (A) and a Moa (B) femur as a size and robustness comparison: https://paolov.files.wordpress.com/2010/12/mystery76.jpg
That’d be one BIG chicken!
Possibly, but the claw doesn’t match any of the cranes I’ve looked at so far.
that looks like the arm and hand of some sort of raptor. As in dinosaur raptor.
The curved claw does scream ‘raptor’ to me as well. Although I was thinking of the flying kind…
Flamingos have webbing on their feet and it seems to be lacking in this
Think that might be one of my stepmother’s claws.
I checked it against a Secretarybird – the tibiotarsus is longer and the tarsometatarsus is shorter. The feet are also bigger and the claws more curved.
Definitely a bird – the morphology is wrong for a bat
Big Bird? No seriously: looks too long-legged to be an eagle’s, rather a wader. Might be crane or flamingo?
That’s what I thought at first, but the legs are long in the wrong way for a wader (the distal elements of the leg are relatively shorter than the proximal) and the claws are totally different – much more raptorial.
A glimpse from the future of Ann Coulter’s remains?
..That, or a velociraptor.
I thought of that too – compared it to an Eagle Owl specimen – the tibiotarsus alone is longer than the full leg length of Bubo bubo
Only one toe has a large claw, does that exclude raptors?
Is the single large claw used as a tool, say to extract grubs from within trees?
A large parrot or cockatoo?
Definitely not a parrot – they have 2 toes pointing forward & 2 backwards.
Ooh or a Seriema?
I like that suggestion! I’ll check it out – thanks!
It looks like Seriema have their big claw on a shortened toe, so maybe not.
Yes, and seriema have a long third toe. (Possibly for climbing trees.)
I’m taking a punt on it being a Lappet-faced vulture. It has longer legs than other vultures, and the one big claw on the second toe fits as well. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Lappet-faced_vulture_4.jpg http://i65.photobucket.com/albums/h225/centrarchid/lappet-faced-vulture-lg.jpg
I think this matches the morphology best out of all the suggestions so far – thanks!
Way too big for a Hoatzin.
I’m, as usual, taking a swing in the dark here but what about Hoatzin?
As above 😉
Too gracile for a Dodo
It looks like a walking predator, and quite a biggie, so I’m going to support Patrick veale’s Seriema…
Also, Wikipedia says “…they have sharp claws, with an extensible and very curved second toe claw.” which is referred from
del Hoyo, J. Elliott, A. & Sargatal, J. (editors). (1996) Handbook of the Birds of the World. Volume 3: Hoatzin to Auks. Lynx Edicions
Fortunately I have the HBW to hand – I will check it out in more detail!
Cassowary, vulture? Hard to say,definitely raptor though.
Checked vultures and cassowaries and it doesn’t quite fit either. The claw looks like a killing tool.
Perhaps a Crane (or Stork). They have the small rear-facing toe and quite large claws. (see: http://www.flickr.com/photos/lauraerickson/3371638534/ and http://www.flickr.com/photos/swamper/3985705330/lightbox/).
I’ve attempted to make some measurements and look at the ratios of the Tibiotarsus to the Tarsometatarsus. In the FMO these are respectively (& approximately) 320mm & 235mm, giving a ratio of 1:0.73. Some of the images of cranes (and Storks) I’ve looked at have similar ratios. Here’s a list of some of the likely suspects (and others thrown in for good measure) with their ratios of Tibiotarsus to Tarsometatarsus:
The ‘FMO’: 1:0.73
Various Cranes: 1:0.7 – 1:0.8
Marabou Stork: 1:0.74
Maguari Stork: 1:0.75
Lappet-Faced Vulture: 1:0.63
Secretary Bird: 1:1
The slender bones also seem to match a Crane (or Stork). Those of the Lappet-Faced Vulture seem to be too robust. The ratios of all the others seem to be too large.
Fantastic stuff Stephen – a good systematic approach! I’m pleased to say that my somewhat less systematic elimination of possibilities has me converging on the same groups. The relatively reduced hallux has been helpful as a character as well.
To me this looks like a crane leg. The long leg bones with ossified tendons are typical for a crane, and also the short hind toe and the hooked nail of the inner toe fits crane well. It may be Common Crane (Grus grus) but I’ll have to check the crane skeletons in my collection whether the size is right for Grus grus, or maybe another species is a better match. I’ve never seen a skeleton of a Seriema, which is also a Gruiform, so I cannot rule it out
What about one of the bigger vultures?
– people keep beating me to the punch – I really should refresh before posting. Lori’s Lappet-faced is exactly the type of beastie I had in mind.
On 3rd thought does it infact have a enlarged claw? Looks like the other claws may just not have the keratin sheath?…
I meant “not infact have”
The claw isn’t enlarged – it just looks that way because it has the sheath. Oddly, both legs have that sheath in place and the other forward-facing ones missing.
Emu? Ostrich? Moa? Roc? A large bird of some sort?
Not big enough
Looks like a chicken’s leg to me!
Secretary bird? The limb is too long for a raptor, and the claws too large for a stork.
I checked, but the ratios between tarsometatarsus and tibiotarsus are totally different.
i would suggest they belong to a ground-dwelling bird. because the hallux (small toe) is fused to the bone and stands elevated. now it is hard to see in the picture if the feet were palmated. but at least you can narrow the search. http://www.netplaces.com/birds/evolution-anatomy-and-flight/feet-and-legs.htm
Reblogged this on Isle of Rumleski and commented:
Have some fun with this museum employee’s blog and see if you can figure this mystery out.
Fun blog. Congratulations on all of the activity here.
Thanks – it’s been particularly busy today!
Some type of wading bird.. Heron or. Crane or maybe Flamingo..Heck of a drumstick…
Spurfowl maybe? Or perhaps it’s too big