Friday mystery object #353 answer


Last week I gave you this mystery mandible from a cabinet in my office, that I discovered while clearing things out:

20190404_093615-01

I was a hotly debated mystery, with some very interesting discussions in the comments between salliereynolds, Allen Hazen and palfreyman1414. This narrowed the identification down from carnivore, to mustelid, to otter, to a final suggestion of European Otter Lutra lutra (Linnaeus, 1758) by Allen Hazen.

European Otter by Bernard Landgraf

European Otter by Bernard Landgraf

This was the same conclusion that I’d reached and it’s always nice to get a second independent opinion that agrees. I’ve seen quite a few otter jaws (in fact I’ve had two otter mandibles as previous mystery object – one was from an Asian Short-clawed Otter and the other from the same species as this one).

This now gives me what I need to go looking to see if there’s a European Otter cranium that’s missing a mandible, so I can see if this one fits. That still might be a bit of glass-slipper type situation, as we have quite a few European Otters in the collection. Ireland is a bit of an otter stronghold and I’ve even found one dead in the road right in Dublin, near one of the canals and less than a mile from the Museum.

Sadly I’ve not yet seen a live one in the wild, and even when they are around they tend to keep a low profile and are normally only known because of their distinctively fishy spraints left in visible locations.

On that slightly fishy note I will leave you until next week!

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