Oddjects No.1

I’ve been running my mystery object for over three years now and I’ve decided to add another kind of post in order to share some of the odd and interesting objects that I come across as I work in the collections of the Horniman Museum.

To share these specimens I’ve chosen the name ‘Oddjects’ as a portmanteau of ‘Odd’ and ‘Objects’. Here’s the first:


This happens to be a Wolffish (Anarhichas sp.) specimen that was a mystery object back in 2010, but here I just want to use the specimen to capture the imagination and spark discussion rather than provide much in-depth interpretation.

What does this make you think of?

I hope you enjoy the Oddjects I plan to share – if you do I would heartily recommend also checking out the Twitter and Tumblr feeds for the Horniman’s collections review projects as they also share some great objects.

13 thoughts on “Oddjects No.1

  1. Nice idea – I can make comments about mechanical aspects without having to reveal the profound depths of my biological ignorance. And now, having said that, the first thing I notice is that these teeth look more like mammalian teeth than fish. I assume this is a predator?

  2. Do the teeth of fish (which I know are not a taxonomic group), follow any general layout or plan in the way that mammalian teeth do? Those I’ve seen give the impression that anything found in a horror movie is acceptable.

    • Not really, I think they pretty much do what they like. They certainly have none of the heterodont restrictions that mammals have in place, although they often have functionally convergent morphologies that can look heterodont.

  3. Interesting item. I just macerated a wolf fish skull which fell apart in about 30 pieces, which I’ll try to put back together later when it is degreased and bleached. Unfortunately, my specimen has not such nice teeth as yours

  4. What a fearsome beast. Any particular tips on cleaning fish skulls? Now that I am no longer in Northumberland and missing access to the wealth of dead things on offer up there, I was thinking of perhaps a fish skull collection if I can chat up the commercial fishermen in Portsmouth’s Camber dock. Do they always fall apart so easily?

    • They do tend to fall apart, as the bones of the skull are largely unfused. Fish bone also tends to be quite poorly ossified and sometimes quite greasy, so during preparation they can warp quite a bit if you’re not careful and over/under-prep it.

  5. Or a parrakeet from the colony that originally established in Richmond Park. They’ve been spreading more widely. We had one in our garden in last winter’s snow – that’s Hertfordshire, they could have reached Birmingham.

  6. Pingback: What Is It? | Daily Pundit

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