Friday mystery object #320

I hope everyone had a lovely Christmas break!

This week I have another specimen from the Dead Zoo to identify – this one has an identification already, but the taxonomy is rather archaic and I think that once you’ve investigated the modern version of the name, you’ll realise that it’s wrong.



Skull length = 121mm


So, any idea what this name should actually be and, more importantly, what the identification actually is?

As always, you can put your thoughts, questions and suggestions in the comments box below – have fun!

14 thoughts on “Friday mystery object #320

  1. I’m guessing the original curator thought this bird was one of the ancien regime (perhaps even the one named for a chimæra), whereas it is very much from le monde nouveau, and probably royalty there, too.

  2. Modern version of Orogyps auricularis is Torgos tracheliotos which is a very large African vulture. The one from the picture is an American vulture and is much smaller. All American vultures have other ancesters than the African vultures and therefor they differ in shape of skulls. I think the owner thought it was Torgos because of the colorfull head.

  3. The correct identification for this skull seems to have been in current use as far back as this publication: Catalogue of the Contents of the Museum of the Royal College of Surgeons in London, Volume 6; see

Share your thoughts

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s