Friday mystery object #215


This week I have a skull for you that I think has been misidentifed, but because its teeth are mostly missing it’s a little hard to be sure.

mystery215

I’d appreciate your thoughts on what it might be and as usual you can put those thoughts in the comments section below. Let’s see if we can work out what this is!

14 thoughts on “Friday mystery object #215

    • That was my first thought, but on closer inspection I’m not as convinced. Not least, there is no constriction of the braincase just behind the orbital process, which is present in all the Viverrids I’m familiar with.

  1. Three triple-rooted teeth. Are these three molars, or is the last premolar triple-rooted? If it’s three molars… Canids (usually) only have two upper molars, and Viverrids have the feline complement of only one, don’t they?

    Good thing I’m only an amateur! I’m deeply mystified.

    • The three triple rooted molars have me stumped too. I was really liking Daniel’s crab-eating fox suggestion in every other aspect, but those tooth root patterns are confusing…

  2. Nice three views, but maybe a fourth would be useful: I can’t tell whether this skull has a smooth-topped braincase or whether there is a very low sagittal crest: looking hard at what seems to be a line of dirt, I think there may be a bit of a crest, but it’s hard to be sure.

  3. My “Na-na” is pretty sure it’s a family (actually, genus) member of hers. Not sure if it’s one from the south or more north-central, however. The best known family member in our parts visits my garden at night but I haven’t asked them what they think. Sneaky devils.

  4. I thought this could be a civet. Some features seem to match and others don’t.

    The layout of the dental alveoli seem to match a civet quite well (see Friday Mystery Object 143), but it’s not a good match for that or any other civets/genets I’ve looked at.

    A few interesting features are:

    The Canines are very straight;
    The Palatine bone extends a long way towards the rear;
    The lateral openings in the Premaxilla are well forward of the canines;
    The Auditory Bullae are quite small and appear to be singular (though I often find it hard to see this clearly).

    So, given all that, the closest match I’ve found is a coati, though it still doesn’t look quite right. Perhaps one of its close relatives? Olingo?

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