Friday mystery object #253

This week I have a lovely specimen from the hidden gem that is the King’s College Museum of Life Sciences for you to try your hand at identifying:


Any idea what this specimen might be? As usual you can put your questions, observations and suggestions below – let’s see if we can work out what this is!

13 thoughts on “Friday mystery object #253

  1. It’s not like you to omit a scale on the photo,, Paolo! So, it’s something with the appearance of having a canivore morphology or origin. My first thought had been one of the smaller ursines, i.e. one that is not Polar, brown or black…. but the well developed postorbital processes don’t seem to conform to that hypothesis, and maybe the angle of the jaw is wrong? This needs further thought!

    • Based on the above plus teeth, slope of the face, & upward arched zygomatic arch, I think it could be Bd… j — which might also account for the slightly dog-like appearance — or its close relative Bd.. n.

  2. I’m puzzled by it. Overall it looks sort of like it ought to be a Carnivoran, but it has (as pointed out above) LOTS of teeth. I count six upper postcanines. Can’t see the crowns very well, but on the basis of what is visible it doesn’t look like a hyper carnivorous species. And the last upper premolar, which in a typical carnivoran ought to be the carnassial, doesn’t look too impressive.

    But at least I’m fairly confident it is a placental mammal: upper incisor count is the stereotypical three (on each side) of placentals.

    Momentary suspicion it might be something like a tree shrew, but I think they have complete rather than just almost-complete postorbital bars (and 7-10cm for the skull would be too big anyway).

    I’ll go away and think and surf skulls and maybe get back with a guess. But meanwhile, off the identificatory topic: I’ve never seen such beautiful (and beautifully visible!) turbinals when looking at a complete skull!

  3. Hmmm.
    So, what ARE those upper postcanines? I was thinking of three PM and three M, but four PM and two M would be more appropriate for a Viverrid or Herpestid. And I’m leaning toward those families. (They and the Felids seem typically to have more nearly complete postorbital bars than other Carnivoran families.)

    But I don’t think I’m going to be able to narrow it down beyond that. I look forward to the answer!

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