Friday mystery object #186 answer


On Friday I gave you a mystery skull from the forests of south Thailand to identify, courtesy of Mark Ribbands via William Vine:

mystery186amystery186bmystery186c

When I first saw this skull I was immediately struck by its similarity to that of a Badger:

mystery137

That badger-like quality (which Jake also noticed) got me thinking that it may belong to an Asian Hog Badger, but the skull length is 190mm, which is a bit too big even for a large adult Hog Badger and the unfused sutures, partially erupted canines and short muzzle make it pretty obvious that the skull comes from a very young animal (I talked about the characteristics of juvenile animals in a post a couple of years ago).

Jake recognised that the skull was from a juvenile, as did Wouter van Gestel, who went on to suggest a much larger carnivore, the Malayan Sun Bear. The other possibility would be the Asiatic Black Bear, but without comparable juvenile skulls of both it is hard to be sure which it is, but I’m pretty certain it is the skull of a bear and looking at the shape of the adult bear skulls I think the Sun Bear Helarctos malayanus Horsfield, 1825 is probably the most likely candidate.

Sun Bears are the smallest members of the bear family and are well adapted to climbing, which they do a lot of as they search for the insects, fruit and honey that make up most of their diet. Here’s a video of a Sun Bear cub putting those impressive climbing skills to the test:

 

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