Friday mystery object #262

Last week I had an enjoyable trip to Berlin where (probably unsurprisingly) I visited the Museum für Naturkunde. The collections were fantastic, with specimens like this absolutely spectacular Archaeopteryx:


but that’s a pretty obvious object, much too familiar to use for the Friday mystery object. So here’s something that might be a little less familiar to test your skills:


It’s a pretty distinctive specimen, but hopefully it won’t be quite as familiar as the iconic Archaeopteryx.

If you recognise it straight away, please use your imagination and leave a cryptic answer so others get a chance to test their identification skills. Have fun!

16 thoughts on “Friday mystery object #262

  1. If it’s what I think it is, we have two in Adelaide…not much success in breeding them though….the problem is not entirely black and white though…

  2. Plantigrade feet [in this display], short tail, small claws, short snout, monster z.a. and sagittal crest and what appears to be a sizable axis(?). Goldilocks? Yogi? Smokey? I can’t tell. As much as part of me wants to go back to the days of black and white imagery, I think I need new glasses…or are they optical enhancers?

  3. Are you still in Germany? I am a friend of the paleontologist at the Hessische Landesmuseum here in Darmstadt near Frankfurt, if you are interested.

  4. Several of the “cryptic” answers weren’t very cryptic, and the over-all skeletal form looks plausible (at a family level, at least). So I decided to consult the “Skulls Unlimited” website to check: they have pictures of a skull of the b&w species of this family! So, maybe… though the camera angle is different enough to make comparison hard (and the skull looks REALLY weird from the angle here!). The sagittal crest is amazing: totally dwarfs the brain-case under it. (One of the views at S.U. was a direct rear view: the proportions look almost like a cynodont-grade animal rather than a crown carnivoran.) So do we assume that this is a species that eats something that needs hard chewing (hence crest) but isn’t very nutritious (so can’t support a big brain)?

    • That sagittal crest, along with the distinct heel bones, and short tail, were also what got me thinking along these lines.

      Being a bear of very little brain myself, though, I was going to offer the tentative identification of “mammal”.

      Don’t you just love the word-on floating penis bone, though? Now that’s the way to display a specimen!

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