12 thoughts on “Friday mystery object #391

  1. What philosophical thought most crosses the mind of a lonely desert caravansai driver? To hump or not to hump? That is the question!

  2. Well clearly from that depth of skull it’s a cat. From the narrow snout it’s a weasel. And from the dentition it’s clearly an elephant. Am I right? If not I’ve jumped over the moon with one. Or is it that I went to market with this one? Hmmmm…

  3. Ah geeze. You know size does matter (Don’t care what they say) and you are not horsin’ around with this one. I am going to just have to deal with what you have given us and take my lumps (or two) as it is.

  4. Artiodactyl. Not a pig or a hippopotamus: something in the non-monophyletic group that used to be called Selenodontia.
    No obvious cranial “decoration”: so either (i) a species that doesn’t have any, or (ii) a female of a species in which only the males have horn/antler/ossicone thingies.
    Large prominent lower canine. I think that’s a clue. I’ll have to check a variety of possibilities, but my immediate thought is that, among selenodont artiodactyls, camelids have more scary-looking canines than most pecorans. (Which seems to be what several people more cryptic than I am have also thought.)

  5. Too many front teeth to be a giraffe.
    There are deer (in a VERY broad sense — what is a muntjac in modern classifications?) with upper canines, but much slandered than the big tooth this one has in its lower jaws.
    Camels, of course, have upper canines as well as lower, but the lower edge of the rostrum in this specimen (look, in particular, just in front of where the canine is in the lower jaw) looks as if it might have some empty alveoli.
    So I’m going to vote for that family. Llama skulls seem to be more delicate, with smaller front teeth, so I’m going to go with one of the Eurasian species of that family.
    Again, I think this is in line with what other people think!
    As to which one…
    I think I will try to follow up Katedmonson’s second cryptic remark.

  6. (And the thing I’ve been calling a lower canine — the conical thing separated by a gap from the incisors and by a longer gap from the molars/molariform premolars — might be an anterior premolar: I think there are a number of teeth missing and I don’t trust my judgement of relative positions of the ones that remain. But this doesn’t affect my reasoning on the camelid/pecoran question: the latter tend not to have ANY big conical things in that region of the jaw.)

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