Friday mystery object #378


This week I’ve gone for a slightly more artsy image for the mystery object than usual:

You can click on the pictures to get a large version, which you might find useful.

I foolishly forgot to measure the specimen or include a scale bar, so I’ll update with a length as soon as I get back to the specimen. Sometimes it’s nice to rely just on morphology, so let’s see if anyone can work out what this is before I provide more information. [UPDATE: it’s 84mm long]

Have fun!

22 thoughts on “Friday mystery object #378

  1. I’m with James. The large canines coupled with all those chewing teeth and the large cranium screamed primate at me, but, with that slim lower jaw it was never going to be a baboon, and few if any other simians have quite that snout, so pro-simian it must be, and I think those protruding lower incisors seem to be characteristic of lemurs. Genus and species? Well… more research needed. Will try.

  2. We are confined at home, so we searched together with my 5 years old daughter. Here are our thoughts :
    – foramen magnum in a downward position, low-crown teeth, bony part behind orbite, orbites facing toward the front, so we are dealing with a primate
    – but a special primate because the orbites are open to the temporal fossa. And also it has a long snout with the orbites below the nasal bone. The orbites are not big enough for a nocturnal monkey. And also the very special lower incisors in horizontal position, also know as teeth-comb. We think it is a lemur-like animal.
    The brain case is not round enough for a Lorisidae. We could not find pictures of all the lemur and sportive lemur species. But we saw the picture of a skull of the cat-ish one and it fits very well.

  3. I’m no further ahead than previous posters, and behind some, but I agree about it probably being a Prosimian Primate.
    —Reasonably complete Eutherian dental formula (o.k., premolars reduced to three, and in side view I can’t really count the incisors)
    —Complete postorbital bar.
    —To me these suggest some sort of Primate. (I briefly thought of Scandentian, since that’s another clade with complete postorbital bars, but 84mm skull length seems a bit big for a tree shrew.)

    —Procumbent lower incisors. (If in front view the lower incisors look comb-like, I’ll start thinking about the remaining Euarchontan order.)

    — Eyes may not be gig enough for a nocturnal monkey (I’ll trust Rémi on that), but they are big enough I’ll bet it’s something more active at night than by day.

    —So, for the moment I’m in the Lemur camp. And don’t know enough to be more specific.

  4. Hmmm… Looked up a couple of skull images on the WWW. This looks very much like a lemur I saw. On the other hand, it’s definitely NOT a Colugo (a.k.a. “Flying L”)– they seem to have much more herbivorous dentition, with what I’d call molariform premolars (though not premolars looking very much like their own molars).

  5. Second thoughts: we cannot quite see this, but in my own notes on lemurs;
    Canine often incisiform and procumbent, arranged laterally with incisors in toothcomb, creating array of 3.
    Ist mandibular premolar often caniniform

    This would then be 3 premolar, 3 molar and therefore not Varecia but more probably Eulemur….

  6. Second thoughts: we cannot quite see this but in my own notes on lemur;
    Canine often incisiform and procumbent, arranged laterally with incisors in toothcomb, creating array of 3.
    Ist mandibular premolar often caniniform

    This would then be 3 premolar, 3 molar and therefore not Varecia but more probably Eulemur….

  7. While some lemurs don’t have upper incisors, this one has small peg-like ones. A Ruffed lemur (Varecia variegate), while having the same dentition, has more of an orbital thickness.
    Since the skull has been dremeled out, I am not sure how much of a diastema was between the canine and upper premolars. If there was one there, I will vote for a Ring tailed lemur (Lemur catta), female, because of the smoother occipital and more slender lower mandible. The size fits as well.

  8. So, just to concur with some others: I am going with ring-tailed lemur. Sorry guys, I always guess wrong so I have probably jinxed your choice.

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