Friday mystery object #348


This week I have a skull for you that I’ve been hoping to be able to track down for a very long time and finally discovered it in the collections of the Dead Zoo:

You can leave your questions, observations and (preferably cryptic) suggestions below. Have fun!

17 thoughts on “Friday mystery object #348

  1. Big ‘ole cheek muscles through the large zygomatic arch there.

    Slicing teeth, no crushing teeth so not an omnivore, just an obligate carnivore.

    Ambush predator? Big canines to grip and hang on to prey.

  2. Agree totally with Steve. Willing to go a bit further and say Felid. Tempted to go with Wouter, but not at all confident.
    How old was this individual when it died? The small anterior premolar visible in at least one specimen of Wouter’s kitty is missing, and there seems to be some bone erosion around its location.

  3. Well, it isn’t a marsupial, so definitely one of the carnivora. But I am not yet sure it is a felid: something about the orbital sockets doesn’t seem to match.

    Of course I shall be proven wrong, but I am still looking at other carnivoran clades first.

  4. Dental formula lead to Felidae. I think that the grooves on the canines can indicate the Genus. Could it be a “cat” whose vernacular name is derived from being formerly called “spotted lion” ?

  5. I think I’ll throw in with Wouter’s choice, though of course, the whole subject is nebulous, if I read him right.

  6. Sceptical notes noted, but it still looks catty to me. What am I missing about the eye sockets?

    On the assumption that it IS a cat (and a big one)… Hmm… Let me look at the comparative photos James Bryant has linked to again!

  7. The pictures in that link (some of them), and relevant comments about spotting features, are in one of ITS links,

    https://www.fws.gov/lab/idnotes/IDG7_CatSkulls.pdf

    It’s not a VERY big cat: much too small to be a full-grown P. Leo or P. tigris. So one of the medium-sized (leopard, cheetah, cougar…) bunch. (Maybe a bit big for the cloudy species mentioned earlier… and the canines don’t look quite big enough for that one, either.)
    There are streaks on the canines in Paolo’s top photo: they might just be dirt, I suppose, but if the dirt has collected in grooves… then
    https://www.fws.gov/lab/idnotes/IDG7_CatSkulls.pdf
    points to the Leopard (Remi suggests this) or Snow Leopard. The profile of the snout… looks intermediate between those that link shows for those two species. I think I’m about 60/40 in favour of the non-snow leopard if the choice is between those two.

  8. Thanks, Allen Hazen, for that link. I now know what the talk about “snout” is, and if I can’t decide what cat our mystery skull comes from, it’s not the fault of that information! I also looked up several skulls separately, new cats and spotted lions, (thanks, Remi), and see parts of that and parts of the regular guy and am still confused – but in a more educated way, now!

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