Friday mystery object #96 answer

On Friday I gave you this specimen to identify:

It’s from one of  two boxes labelled NH.83.1, which between them contained twenty unidentified skulls from a variety of different animals, ranging from fish to birds and mammals – several of which have been used as mystery objects in the past.

These boxes have been in the Horniman collections since the 1930′s and there is very little information available about the specimens, so it falls to me to make identifications. The comments I receive when using these specimens as mystery objects is always useful – it makes me double check my identification in light of the suggestions that you make – a form of review that I find very valuable. So thanks to everyone who attempted an identification, your thoughts have proved really useful!

From the outset the suggestions made were along the same lines as I’d been thinking – Prancing Papio FCD suggested a Maxwell’s Duiker, which is of similar size but has a narrower skull, smaller braincase and horns set far back on the skull, rather than originating just above the orbit like this one. This difference in the horn position and the relative size of the braincase rules out all of the Duikers in fact.

Jake suggested Dik-dik using a cryptic clue that I totally misunderstood – but this skull is a fair bit bigger than that of a Dik-dik’s and it has much longer nasal bones (Dik-diks have a bizarrely truncated nasal region).

Stephen J Henstridge suggested Steenbok, which is what I had originally thought it might be, since it’s almost identical, but a few little details of the palate, the horn orientation and the post-orbital process make me think that Stephen’s follow up suggestion of  Continue reading