Friday mystery object #390

This week I have a mystery object that my boss, mentor and the Keeper of the Dead Zoo, Nigel Monaghan, found while working on a collection of cave bones:

Now Nigel has already worked out what it is thanks to a website that has images of skulls with id tips that you may have seen before (yep, this one), but do you recognise what this is?

I think this is a nice straightforward object, so maybe a good one for some fun cryptic or otherwise entertaining answers? Have fun!

15 thoughts on “Friday mystery object #390

  1. well formed, deformed auditory bulla… all the skulls photos i see show the anterior/dorsal side like a cyclops. this specimen reminds me of a chihuahua skull i have.

  2. I seems like the whole skull would be quite round, but too big to be an Irish land mammal with a round head? Where are the toothy regions? That bulbous thing is an ear bone (tympanic bullae) – it has (had) good hearing? Or it needs good ear bones because it’s an ‘earless’ seal.

  3. There are missing pieces. There’s also a marked difference in color/texture between the top of the skull and the sides: are the darker regions the areas where something used to be attached? (Thinking: if you have part of a telescope, there will be polishing that shows where the missing segment fitted.)
    And that’s one whale of a bulla!

  4. O.k., I was wrong. I hereby take back all my cetacean hints (the bony nostril would have been too far forward for a modern cetacean anyway). And apparently the sides of the skull of another sort of marine mammal can have the contrast with the top I noted.
    Photo of a somewhat more complete skull fairly similar to this one here:
    (Link will probably not work: the last part of the URL was too much of a giveaway, so I trimmed it. Will post working link closer to the end of the week.)
    …There are still missing pieces, though not as big as I had imagined: the rostrum isn’t really as slender as it looks in Paolo’s picture.)

  5. I love the cryptic clues too – I think you-all (that’s southern USA talk) are better at it. Perhaps I just don’t have the ears for it.

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