Last week I gave you this skull from the Dead Zoo to have a go at identifying:
I think it’s quite a distinctive skull, so I didn’t provide a scale and I asked for cryptic clues to avoid spoiling the challenge.
The overall skull shape is fairly standard for an Artiodactyl, but while this specimen has no incisors in the upper jaw, there are fairly obviously empty alveoli that show where the teeth used to be. That means it’s not a member of the Ruminantia (the deer, antelope, cattle, giraffes and weird deery-antelopey type critters like chevrotains) since they all lack upper incisors.
That leaves the pigs, hippos and camels – and it’s clearly not one of the pigs or hippos.
The camel family is a bit odd. There are three wild species, but then an additional four entirely domesticated species. The proportions of this skull are a bit long for a Llama, Guanaco, Alpaca or Vicuña. That leaves the Dromedary, Wild Bactrian or Domesticated Bactrian camel as possibilities.
Dromedary skulls tend to have a horizontal nasal region then a steep rise to the braincase immediately behind the orbits, but this specimen has a more gentle slope running from the nose to the top of the braincase, so it’s Bactrian.
Unfortunately the Wild Bactrian camel is critically endangered and poorly represented in collections, so it’s hard to find enough comparative material to differentiate the wild and domestic Bactrians.
Well done to everyone who figured out that this is one of the double-humped ships of the desert. There were some great clues in the answers!