Friday mystery object #141 answer

On Friday I was in rather a rush as I was involved in co-organising this year’s Natural Science Collections Association (or NatSCA) conference. It was a very enjoyable (if hectic) few days of natural history nerdery, but left me limited time to select an object from the FMO. I took my opportunity at the drinks reception at the Grant Museum of Zoology where I tried out the camera on my new phone to get an image of this specimen:

Now it was a fairly easy one to identify as the skull of these animals is very distinctive. Nonetheless, if you haven’t seen the skull of one of these animals before it is a bit of an oddity, with that spike in the face and the apparently strongly protruding maxilla and mandible (which is actually due to unusually elevated frontals). Continue reading

Friday mystery object #132 answer

On Friday I gave you these objects to identify:

I expected you to work out what these came from pretty easily – and you proved me right. In fact, I think this was probably the easiest mystery object so far, given that everyone managed to get a correct identification of  Continue reading

Friday mystery object #126 answer

On Friday I gave you a bit of a tricky mystery object in the shape of this partial skull:

I wasn’t expecting anyone to get it without some clues, but I underestimated my talented audience!

Jake spotted that it was a mammal based on the ear morphology and then worked out what kind of animal based on clues from henstridgesj who suggested seal and Julie Doyle, who managed to not only identify the species, but drop this lovely cryptic clue to convey that information:

Not a lot to phocus on, but……. I’m harboring an idea about who it might be. Continue reading

Friday mystery object #123 answer

On Friday I gave you a genuine mystery object from the Horniman’s collections:

It had been highlighted as potentially being human in origin, but it’s very short, despite being fully fused (therefore from an adult) and the condyles (the bumps that make the top of the knee) are too similar in size – humans have a bigger condyle on the inside of the knee.

However, the general shape is quite similar to a human femur – the depth and orientation of the condyles and the groove between them is all wrong for a quadrupedal animal and the femoral head and neck (the articulation at the top that goes into the hip) are at an angle and shape similar to that seem in humans.

There were some great observations and suggestions and I was pleased that henstridgesj managed to get the same identification as I finally decided on, with Matt King making a very similar suggestion. I think it’s the femur of a  Continue reading

Friday mystery object #114 answer

Apologies for the rather late answer to last Friday’s mystery object – it’s been a hectic few days!

I asked you to identify this skull

which you managed to do very quickly.

The first suggestion of a Vulture by Rosa Rubicondior was along completely the right lines, while KK and Steven D. Garber, PhD suggested a Turkey Vulture – which isn’t quite right, but it’s in the same genus – Cathartes.

From there, Julie Doyle and Jake managed to get the correct species identification of   Continue reading

Friday mystery object #106

Last week’s bird was so popular I thought I’d give you another to identify this week. It’s a bit harder than last week’s Kookaburra and I’ll be very impressed indeed if anyone gets it to species, but I’m sure many of you will manage to identify it to family level.

I will  be teaching young folk about skulls and mermaids at Camp Quest in Somerset this Friday, so I might not get a chance to respond to comments, although I’ll do my best.

Good luck!