Last Friday I gave you this unidentified object to get your opinions on:
This specimen has puzzled me quite a bit. The internal structure is a dense honeycomb, that seems too tightly compacted to belong to a bird – plus it’s so big that the only birds it could possibly belong to would be a Moa, Elephant Bird or maybe Ostrich at a push, and I compared this against two of these three possibilities:
So, it’s mammalian and large. It’s also clearly a metatarsal or metacarpal, based on the shape of the articular surfaces.
It’s not shaped quite right for a one or two toed animal so the it seems that the variety of suggestions along those lines of Hippopotamus, Rhinoceros and Elephant are most likely to be in the right area.
I did compare this to Hippo feet and an Elephant hindfoot and drew a blank, so that leaves an Elephant forefoot or a Rhinoceros foot. My best guess would be the 4th metacarpal of a Rhino, although Elephant is still a contender – I will try to find some comparative material to confirm.
A massive ‘thank you’ to everyone who contributed ideas – it’s great to have some fresh perspectives and new directions to explore when you’re stumped!