Friday mystery object #281

This week I have another specimen from the Grant Museum of Zoology for you to have a go at identifying:


This specimen has an identification, but I’m not sure I agree with it, so I want to see what you think it is.

Have fun with it!

18 thoughts on “Friday mystery object #281

  1. Given it is one of those constrictor thingies, I am voting for the Theory of Forms: the top of its skull looks like a skinned frog, so I’m going with a frog-eater. You know the one I mean.

  2. I am tentatively seconding Andy Mills’ guess, on the grounds, specious enough, that the upper jaw overhang is not as exaggerated as in the American lookalikes.

  3. As for species, I’m still working that one out. Family, looks boid not pythonid from the appearance of the eye socket. The overbite doesn’t concern me (unless it should). Reconstructing snake skulls is probably the worst thing ever! So many little parts that move independently of one another!

    • See! See!

      You buggers actually know your stuff and can use technical terms and all that.

      Paolo has said it is not North American, but that still leaves open the boid prospect. So I, knowing bugger all about the technical details, am going to suggest pythonid again on the grounds that boids more frequently seem to have extra large front fangs, whereas boids seem to have the more smoothly graded fangs that this one (whom I have decided to name Sam) has.

      As is typical, I am likely to be wrong, but hey, I tend to be wrong about everything: I voted for AV, I voted for Remain. All that is left is for this to be a boid.

      I promise I am not bitter and twisted.


      ~ Miss Havisham

      • I just bothered to do some looking up instead of guesswork, and found this:

        “The postfrontal bone, usually present, borders the orbit behind, rarely also above, and in the pythons a supraorbital bone is intercalated between it and the prefrontal bone.”


        “Boids are, however, distinguished from the pythons in that none has postfrontal bones or premaxillary teeth”

        Now if only I knew what any of it meant I might be able to tell you guys too. Also, I do not know how reliable this ‘information’ is as it came out of wiki.

        Nevertheless, if I now look at the pictures closely, I might actually be bale to tell which of the two types we are looking at.

      • I am going to claim that the boid skulls I have looked at all seem not have split fronts to their maxillae (is that the correct word?), ie they appear not to be fully ossified, whereas this specimen seems to have a relatively solide upper jaw. I wonder if that means it has premaxillary teeth? I am guessing so.

        In which case I am definitely going for pythonid. (Just don’t ask me about postfrontal bones.)

        • I didn’t realise they had! Somehow they managed to be diverted by the spam filter (no idea why) – thanks for letting me know, I wouldn’t have spotted it if you hadn’t said anything!

  4. palfreyman1414, you are cracking me up! My colleague Daniel Calleri sent me a very useful article. Because of it, I just noticed the premaxillary teeth present on this specimen but absent on boids. Ugh … a python of some ilk. Still searching even though I know there is only one day left.

    • But your point about the shape of the orbit being boid is valid too. I am still, in desultory fashion, looking for a pythonid with a road orbit instead of the backwards slash at the base that most seem to have. In desperation I have even tried looking up related species to the pythons, like the Children’s Snakes and so on. But it is hard to find google image references that are reliably about the snake you are looking for, and are not posed in some kind of muscle beach fashion with the jaws open and testosterone oozing from behind the camera…

      I suppose, as always, I shall just have to wait for Paolo’s big reveal tomorrow.

      FWIW, one more tip… If it has four pits on each side, labially, which I think is a sign of the bigger pythonids, then this may well be a juvenile, or certainly not full/maximum size for its species. Just a thought, though.

  5. Fantastic writing ! Apropos , if your business is requiring a PD F 1048 E , my friend discovered a fillable version here

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