Last Friday I gave you this odd looking V-shaped bone to identify:
It led to a lot of speculation on Facebook and Twitter, with ideas including a bird wishbone, hyoid or mandible. However, the comments on the blog tended to be a little more focussed in the area of the mandible of an ant-eating mammal.
The two little prongs at the anterior of this lower jaw are a bit of a give-away about which type of ant-eating mammal it is, as they are only seen on one family. When you look at the additional image I provided it becomes even easier to work out which:
As most of you correctly worked out, this is a specimen of Pangolin, of which there are four species in the genus Manis (thanks Allen Hazen for the correction – there are more like eight species in the family). I found this nice illustration of the skulls of the various species, to help narrow it down even further:
So it appears from the morphology of the premaxilla, zygomatic region and nasals that this is a Sunda Pangolin, Manis javanica Desmarest, 1822.
These unusual scaly insectivores are critically endangered due to poaching for their meat, skin and scales for the Chinese market, with their population suspected to have declined by 80% in the last 20 years, despite having a protected status. Sad to say that their ability to roll into an armoured ball does nothing to protect them from people.
“Pangolin, of which there are four species”
? I thought there were seven living species, now often divided into more than one genus. ???
No matter how many species, we humans seem to be destined to exterminate them all. It makes you wonder…
I remember seeing them for sale in Seoul Korea 20 years ago at one of the biggest markets downtown…. Stuffed and right next to the sea turtles.