Friday mystery object #226

A rushed mystery object today I’m afraid, as I was doing talks at a late event last night and I have a painfully early start this morning – plus I’ve not been in the stores this week, so no opportunity to get a good mystery object to photograph!

So here’s an object that I was asked to identify a while back, that I took some snaps of on my phone. Apologies for the poor image quality:


Any idea what this might be? As usual you can put your observations, questions and suggestions in the comments section below.


30 thoughts on “Friday mystery object #226

  1. I’m not sure what it is, but I’m sure what it’s not! It’s not an elephant tusk, as it seems to lack the criss-cross pattern (or I can’t see that much detail on my phone). I’ll wait to see what the others say, not even sure if it’s a tooth or a horn!

  2. Instantly a tusk/tooth! I don’t think from elephant though given the wear pattern. I think it is indeed a section but containing the functional and worn end of a hippo tooth.

  3. I don’t think it’s a tooth. If your scale bar is accurate (?) then it’s roughly 15cm in diameter, which would be too big for anything much other than a large elephant tusk, and it has completely the wrong structure for that – no Schreger lines. In fact, no lines of any kind, which says not tooth at all (unless it was a walrus tooth, and it’s way too big for that). And it has a distinct outer layer, with the reflective quality that your phone camera has picked out nicely and a slightly blotchy pattern of pigment/dicolouration on the outer surface that is uncharacteristic of tooth or bone, but quite characteristic of horn. That could suggest unpolished horn, with the bone core intact. But again, bloody big horn.

    It’s late, and I’ve had a long couple of days, so that’s about as far as I can go for now. How am I doing? It’s not a great photo, so it’s hard to tell structure. But I guess that’s the point…you can’t make it too easy!

  4. And just to be clear, I’m not saying I actually think it’s horn. And now that I think of it, your scale bar probably only applies to the upper image and not the lower, so that could put walrus tusk back into the picture, given the marbled internal structure (again, it looks marbled from here, but it’s a bad picture). But you still have the weird shininess of the outer layer to deal with, which doesn’t look very toothy/tusky to me…

    It’s late, I’m going to stop staring at it now and go to bed, because I’m rather doubting my eyes.

    • It does a bit – especially the image from the end (it would be horse rather than cow, as a cow’s would be in two parts as they’re cloven). It’s not hoof, but that’s the right material.

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