Friday mystery object #183

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!

62 thoughts on “Friday mystery object #183

    • 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.

  1. 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?

  2. 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

    • Perhaps a Crane (or Stork). They have the small rear-facing toe and quite large claws. (see: and

      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
      Flamingo: 1:0.84
      Seriema: 1:0.87

      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.

      Any thoughts?

      • 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.

  3. 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

  4. On 3rd thought does it infact have a enlarged claw? Looks like the other claws may just not have the keratin sheath?…

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