Friday mystery object #330

This week I have some guest mystery objects for you, provided by Paul Offelman-Flohic of the Écomusée du pays de Rennes. These are specimens that survived a fire, but lost their information, so let’s help fill in the blanks!


I recognise these specimens and I expect many of you will have a pretty good idea of what they are, so a bit of cryptic punnery (is that a word?) in the answers would be fun and will help avoid spoiling the challenge for everyone else. Amusez-vous bien!

16 thoughts on “Friday mystery object #330

  1. think first should be a frog, Bufo bufo, the most common species in France and the most useful species for the Deyrrolle market…

    Second, maybe a shrew (family Soricidae). If yes, should be the common shrew (Sorex araneus) for same reasons above. It seems to be a Deyrrolle piece too.

    Third, the anterior harm of the mole (Talpa talpa). Seems to be the same thing (Deyrrolle house) of the previous ones and this is mounted to didactic exposure.

    • I’m not confident enough to join Wouter in the suggestion that the last two photos are from the same animal, but he might be right. Sergio’s suggestion of Sorex sp is, I’m fairly confident, wrong, for the same reason as given by Remi: the photo shows a very slender cheekbone. Moles apparently have cheekbones, but shrews don’t. (Well, real, Sorex, shrews: if you try to find “shrew skulls” on the WWWeb, you’ll get lots of photos of Tree Shrew skulls: these are very different beasties!)

      As for the first two photos… Not that it helps much with the identity, but the hind limbs are weird. Normally when you see two parallel bones in the section of leg above the foot you think “Tibia and Fibula,” but not here! The fibula seems to be absent, but the next segment down (tarsals? metatarsals?) has a “pseudotibia” and “pseudofibula”! If we didn’t know it was a real animal we’d think this was a stupid mistake by an artist designing a monster for the cover of a cheap paperback.

        • Much as elephant shrews shrews (or elephants) and the Giant Otter Shrew is neither a shrew nor an otter! As you say, vernacular names are tricky.

          To clarify: the slender cheekbone in photo # 3 is similar to that of moles. I’m not CONFIDENT Wouter is right, but I’m leaning in his direction.

  2. three times the mystery;
    mark twain approved
    the first one be
    (in calaveras county,)
    the second i see
    though it barely,
    the last one to me
    looks fossorial indeed,
    and now begins a week
    with more time to seek
    the answer to paolo’s puzzle

  3. Bufo, bufo, mole (?), mole – bad photo of mole skull. I have a good one, but don’t know how to share it.

  4., reminds me elementary school, it was a classic in Biology class rooms.

    Specimen on picture 1&2, sure it’s an anura, no other tetrapod has a urostyle. If you kiss it, you will be disappointed, because of the teeth on the maxillary, it won’t be a prince, more likely a pasta maker.

    Skull on picture 3. Shrews have no bone related to the name of this blog. The lower incisor is to small to belong to a spiny friend, so that it should be one who maintains his secret identity.

    Lower left arm same species as the skull. Such a short and twisted humerus is made to swim … in the earth.
    (double)thumbs up ?

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