15 thoughts on “Friday mystery object #314

  1. Looks like a bone.

    Yes I know that’s about as helpful as a BoJo at a Maybot party, but I mean there appears to be an articulating process at one end, as though it is the proximal end of the radius, or humerus or some such, of a vertebrate. Though it might be a very weird sort of vertebrate.

    Much more thinking and searching required (including Chris’s clues, which sound fascinating but haven’t led me anywhere yet, despite diligent google-images-ing).

  2. It is a fish Neurocranium… unfortunately not one I recognise off-hand. A brief perusal of the very useful Osteobase has not helped out either. Where is it from? Fresh or Sea?

  3. I feel so honored to be a guest mystery specimen collector 🙂

    i have my own guess as to what it is, especially based on where i found it, but i don’t want to give any extra clues that Paolo doesn’t want to tip…

    i do hope i’ll finally be able to label it after nearly 20 yrs. Thanks Paolo and thanks all!

  4. Suppose it’s a skull. Then the bottom photo is a rear view. (n which case … the occipital condyle is very very big. Since there is only one condyle, it’s not a mammal, so my usual policy of only guessing at mammalian puzzles lets me off the hook. But it’s BIG. I don’t know my fish anatomy at all, but would a fish have this big a condyle? (Fish don’t bend at the neck– necks were a tetrapod innovations– and, living in water as they do, they don’t need as much mechanical support to combat gravity as land vertebrates do.)
    Some kind of bird?

  5. Well, I still think the bottom photo looks like an occiput, but I retract my “some kind of bird?” suggestion: birds apparently tend to have small condyles, located at the very bottom of the occiput or even on the ventral surface of the skull (which, considering the way they hold their heads, makes sense).
    The beam extending forward from the (supposed) condyle on the (supposed) ventral surface of the (supposed) skull is very weird.
    I’m puzzled.

  6. Still assuming it’s a skull (and frankly, given the occuput-like look of the bottom photo, I don’t know what else to assume), look at the top view. There is a peculiarly sharp point to what looks like (is in roughly the right place to be) the upper forward corner of the orbit. Does anybody recognize this as a spotting mark?

  7. This is definitely a neurocranium from a fish (likely a barracuda if this is marine). The first image is the skull roof, showing the elongated frontals and parietals (front of snout is left in first three images). Second image is a left lateral view, showing the internal parasphenoid that would pass between the two eye sockets. Third image is a ventral view, showing the bottom of the parasphenoid. And obviously last image is posterior view, showing the foramen magnum where the spinal cord would pass through, over the occipital condyle. It just may not look like a skull to some because it’s missing the eye sclera bones, jaws, cheek bones, pretty much anything that is not the skull roof or braincase.

  8. Sarah Gibson–
    So, something which (with the missing bits included) would look like

    I’m coming to think this is plausible. The way the parasphenoid (what I in my ignorance called a “beam”) curves upward anteriorly seems consistent with the photo I link to here.
    And the sharply-cornered indentations I thought (4 posts up) were peculiarly shaped corners of an orbit would actually be to the rear of the orbit.
    (And, b.t.w.: I really enjoy the weekly paleoupdate that you and somebody else put up!)

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