Friday mystery object #347

This week I have a close-up of something to identify, that would be a bit too obvious if I showed you the whole thing:


It’s something I have a bit of a soft spot for, so I’m interested to see if it’s as distinctive for anyone else as it is for me! I hope you have fun with it.

16 thoughts on “Friday mystery object #347

  1. The upper third incisor seems to me too small in comparison to the first and second incisors to belong to the taxon Steph suggested.

  2. Oh come, Palfreyman– you can do a bit better than that. It’s a placental mammal (3 upper incisors on each side– marsupials, other than diprotodonts, tend to have five). It’s not a Xenarthran, Proboscidean, Rodent, … tooth count again! Incisors like that make me think Carnivoran, and, though the depth field of the photo is limited, it looks as if there are some pretty hefty canines behind the incisors. … Which, of course, seems to be the common theme in the suggestions of Steph, Wouter, Joe Vans, etc…!

    Color of the bone is odd. Varnish? Or possibly (this would go with Jennifer Maccaire’s suggestion), maybe, brea?

  3. Hmm… The third incisor is at most marginally bigger than the others. I think this would be very helpful to someone who knew more Carnivorans than I do. Lions and hyaenas both have third upper incisors that are much bigger than the first two. The disparity in Smilodon is less, but still greater than in the specimen shown. Wolves also have less of a differential between third upper incisor and the first two than Lions and Hyaenas, but I still think more of a disparity than this skull.
    Quick skim of images my search engine turned up suggests that bears and badgers have I3 closer in size to I1 and I2 than the other types I have mentioned…

  4. Re: Michelle Tabencki’s suggestion that it is a Nimravid.
    Certainly a candidate. It’s not a Dinictis, though. Bone Clones,
    has a front-on view of a Dinictis skull (click on the thumbnail), and the third incisors are MUCH bigger than the first two.
    I still think the third incisors on Paolo’s kitty are too small for it to be a Smilodon, but (courtesy of another BoneClones photo) the disproportion is less than it would be for a Dinictis. And Smilodon, we know, is found in tar deposits!

  5. @ Michelle and Allan -On Nimravids, Eusmilus has less incisor disparity and the right sort of build, but the incisor-canine gap seems to small. I’m not a Carnivora expert either, unfortunately.

  6. I had access only to a crude cast but Smilodon is clearly an option. In all extant carnivores I’ve seen, upper third incisor is clearly larger than the first and second incisors. Except in bears (specially Ursus maritimus) but the shape of the pre-maxillar has nothing to do with the mystery object

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