This week I thought it would be nice to have something seasonal and festive for Christmas Eve, but I couldn’t think of anything that I haven’t done before, so you’re getting a genuine mystery object that came to light on an archaeological dig in Dublin by Irish Archaeological Consultancy:
I’ve been thinking about a possible identification for this specimen (and I’ve ruled out a LOT of possibilities), but I’ve not had much time to check on comparative material, so I’d be keen to hear your suggestions about what you think this leg might have come from in the comments below.
Have a Merry Christmas and try not to spend too much time thinking about this 😉
It looks like a relative of the Ostrich which shares its envirinment with llamas
There aren’t too many possibilities, it is definitely a ratite of some sort. I’ve seen quite a few ratite lower leg bones and I think the anteroposteriorly wide and slightly distally flattened shape of the distal condyle of the tibiotarsus is a good match for something more antipodean (to be clear I mean the one with three letters in its common name). The unguals also fit with this ID. I am assuming that the reason you cannot see the inner digit or its trochlea is because they are still buried in the ground, otherwise it would have to be an ostrich.
My joke is always: There a greater, a lesser, and a Darwin’s…. but no Dia’s…
Given the location, is it a surprisingly young-looking lithornid fossil?
Whatever it is, I’m assuming it’s not a species native to the British isles.
Is this from the same archaeological site as the bear bone you posted a while back?
In which case, Wood’s comment suggests that that, too, might not have been a species native to the British Isles, or to Europe.