Friday mystery object #246


Last weekend I had a fantastic visit to Paris and my wonderful wife gave me the best Valentines Day gift in the world, by taking me to the spectacular Galerie d’anatomie comparée et de Paléontologie.

Paris_Comparative_Anatomy_G

As you might have guessed, I was in bone heaven and had to be dragged out by security at closing time – but not before taking hundreds of photos of the incredible collections.

So this week’s mystery object comes courtesy of Georges Pouchet, the comparative anatomist who established the Gallery:

mystery246

Any idea what this might be?

As usual you can put your suggestions, thoughts and questions in the comments box below. I hope you enjoy the challenge!

19 thoughts on “Friday mystery object #246

  1. And isn;t that museum absolutely fabulous?? Did you get to the Honore Fragonards’ museum at the veterinary school… just fantastic… Heaven, yes!

    • It’s fantastic! I’ve never seen such a comprehensive collection of comparative osteology – I could happily squirrel myself away in there for decades!

  2. The upper premolar tooth count (3 seen here) is the same to a certain hyper-carnivorous group of carnivores, and the lower jaw shape is very reminiscent of a big roaring type…but the long face doesn’t add up.
    So what other carnivoran group has 3 premolars?
    Without the scale, it’s not that easy to identify, but I suspect it’s from a certain island?

    • Natural history collections are a great resource for artists – we have some decent primate skeletons on display at the Horniman if you’re ever in the London area and need inspiration!

      • Wonderful! I will remember that for the future. Fortunately I am an hour away from the Museum of Nat Hist in DC…I went there a few weeks ago to research the kangaroo that I am currently making.

  3. Looks like other people are confident of a (plausible!) identification I wouldn’t have been able to make on my own.
    So, comment/question: seems to have no less than five mental foramina (in a sort of kite-shped arrangement). The only carnivoran skull I have in the house (an American badger, Taxidea taxus) has only two m.f. (on each side). Is this something that would help a more knowledgeable person identify the critter, os is it subject to enough intraspecific variation to make it useless for that purpose? (And, if it is species-specific, is there an obvious functional reason for it? Like maybe particularly sensitive whiskers on the lower jaw?)

    (Confession time: when I wrote in about the PREVIOUS mystery object, I took the presence of a single upper molar behind the carnassial as confirmation that it was from the Aeluroid (Feliform?) side of the carnivoran tree… but of course, Mustelids, being about as hyper carnivorous as Felids, have ALSO eliminated the second upper molar. Everyone has permission to laugh at my spots over this.)

    • Some people use mental foramina as characters, but I personally don’t hold that much truck in them, since they can be very variable within a species – in fact, they can differ in number between the right and left side of the same specimen!

  4. the 3 premolar tooth count typical, feliformia shaped hyper carnivorous carnassial would suggest a cat but the shape of the skull makes me strongly believe that this cryptoprocta ferox the largest native predator in madagascar. The size of the sagital crest suggesting a powerful bite to subdue larger prey is also telling.

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