17 thoughts on “Friday mystery object #447

  1. I think there is a small tooth right behind the canine on the left side of the upper jaw, and room for one on the right side. So the upper jaws have 4 premolars and 2 molars (a fairly standard complement for Caniforms). But look at the last premolar. This is the one that’s “supposed” to be the carnassial in Carnivorans, but this has a very “primitive” looking triangular array of three cusps.

  2. Looks as if there is room for a small first premolar right behind the canines in the upper jaws. In which case the upper dental formula id I3C1P4M2 — fairly standard for caniforms. But look at the last upper premolar, which ought to be the carnassial in a Carnivoran: nothing carnassial about it, just a neat triangular array of three cusps.

    Is this maybe from a female of a species whose males have even chunkier and more robust skills? A species which, looking at the molars, is a mainly vegetarian Carnivoran?

  3. Getting away from the teeth, one striking thing about this skull is the convex profile: the skull roof and the upper side of the snout form a single curve. I think this is unusual. For instance, the Binturong (suggested, unless I misread the cryptic hint, by J.B.) seems to have a bit of a concavity in profile: the skull slopes down sharply in front of the orbits, then flexes up so the top of the snout is more level. The convex profile looks superficially cat-like, but of course the one clear thing about this specimen is that it is not a cat: wrong number and wrong shape of teeth! (J.B. might have been hinting at a different species, though, which is still open…)

  4. (I seem to be doing a monologue of my thinking here!)

    There really do seem to be four upper premolars (the fist missing on the right side). I was leaning toward an identity of… Chrome, or Safari, or ……. , but that’s too many for that species.

    There is a band across the auditory bulla: closer to the mid-line of the skull at the front, then angling a bit out. It’s whiter than the surrounding areas (maybe thicker, less translucent, bone?) and has some “pinholes” (foramina?) along it. Thought: this might mark the position of an internal septum. In which case this is a Feliform (and so not a browsing Caniform!). So maybe we should let the “cat” out of the bag again?

    • I think that might be overinterpretation – I’m confident I’m right (though maybe my cryptic clue is too cryptic) and this is a member of the dog-branch of carnivorans.

  5. Adam–
    I think I understand your cryptic clue, and I don’t think Paolo’s specimen looks quite right for that species. But a lot closer than I realized! I’ll think (and web-browse) some more: you may be right!

  6. Adam–
    (Concession speech: I’ve spent a while looking at skull pictures, and not spotted anything I can point to as showing a difference between Paolo’s specimen and your washing pre-dog.)
    The Wikipedia article on your species, b.t.w., has a bunch of skull photos. Frustratingly small, but… I think at least one shows bands across the bullae like the ones I described on Paolo’s. So my thought that the band marked the position of the internal septum wasn’t just an over, but a downright mis, interpretation!
    (And to make it worse, looking at the archetypal Feliform, I couldn’t see any external sign of the supposed internal septum. So I guess I can’t diagnose Feliformity vs. Caniformity from external photos o the bullae!)

    • Allen-
      I guess we find out tomorrow. I think you are right that there is no external expression of a septate bulla, at least not one that we are picking up

Share your thoughts

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s