Friday mystery object #279

This week I have the kind of mystery object that you find a lot of in museum collections. Sometimes they reside in the bottom of a box. Sometimes they sit in a cupboard. Sometimes they might even have a label, although that label than will often be vague and sometimes misleading.

Any idea what this is?


As usual, you can leave your suggestions below and please try to keep them cryptic if you’re confident that you know what it is. Have fun!

12 thoughts on “Friday mystery object #279

  1. There seems to be a carina which, along with the hollow root, could be a clue….But how can I put this in cryptic form?
    “The owner of this tooth was very good at pretending to be a log and had a lovely – if insincere – smile”
    Does that work?

    • First thought on first image was cuttlefish bone.

      Then, it seemed clear that it was a two-parter – one bit exposed, one bit rooted or held within.

      Since only a claw or a tusk can do this, and it can’t be a claw, I am going with some sort of tooth.

      In fact, for no good reason I am going to guess an amniotes tooth, ignoring lists amphibians and ray finned fish (as also the non tetrapod sarcopterygians).

      I think a good clue lies in another post regarding the archosaurs.

      And since Paolo usually challenges us with extant species, or recently extinct ones, instead of actual fossils, I am going to plump for a modern…


      Type that is from the clade most closely related to birds today.

      But haven’t a clue which of the buggers it might be.

  2. rats, i thought pig too…. the flattened ventral surface looks a lot like a peccary i have. the cetacean tooth i have is not that hollow…. ?

  3. The hollow root immediately made me think of the guy with the alarm clock in his belly, which took off Captain Hook’s hand. Although, I have also seen hollow roots, with similar crenulated edges in un-erupted canines of primates (which this is most certainly not). The presence of what seems to be a slight apical wear facet, suggests that this is not an un-erupted tooth, so I will have to stick with my initial diagnosis. I do recall their teeth being a bit more round though… Maybe this oval shape is a species specific variation, or maybe it is from the anterior portion of the tooth row?

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