I think the oddly inflated and positioned auditory bullae make this look like Gary Oldman in his role as Dracula. Because of this characteristically odd feature the specimen was fairly easy to identify. Of course, that supposes that most people have seen the skull of one of these animals before…
Here is the skull in better detail (for future reference):
The front teeth were a good indication that it was a rodent (we’ve talked about that before) and with the big and upward pointing external auditory meatus (better known as ear-hole) it suggested a very big-eared rodent.
With a skull length of about 7cm the number of possible rodents decreased quite rapidly, as most are much too small to have such a big skull, so I wasn’t surprised when Barbara Powell and David Craven hinted that they had the answer. From then on I started getting cryptic answers about warm fur and cold faces as more of you worked out that this is the skull of a Continue reading →
I thought it might prove quite tricky, yet several of you managed to work out what it was and which animal it came from.
Jake spotted that it was from a young animal – as you can see from the unfused ends of the bone. He also noticed that it was a bit of a strange shape, a bit like a tibia, but actually a radius.
Barbara Powell suggested that it belonged to an animal built for power rather than speed and henstridgesj suggested one such critter – the Aardvark. Although that wasn’t right, or even close in terms of evolutionary relationships, it was very close from the perspective of functional adaptations.
After that it was a short step to the same answer that I decided on when I had to identify this piece of bone. Barabara Powell, henstridgesj and Steven D. Garber, PhD all converged on the answer of Continue reading →
This Friday I’ve decided to really challenge your identification skills with a single bone that I found in the Horniman’s collections.
There was no information of any kind with this specimen, although the material it shared a box with was acquired from the King’s College Comparative Zoology collection. That means that it could be from pretty much any animal on the planet. What do you think it is? (N.B. since it is tricky I’ve given you an image from every angle.)
As usual, you can put your questions, comments and suggestions below and I’ll do my best to respond during the day. Good luck (I think you may need it).
On Friday I gave you a very nice specimen from the Horniman Museum to identify:
I chose this partly because it’s a great mount and partly because I needed to check the identification, which was out of date.
You all did a great job of breaking down the various options – and there were a few. Jake made the comment:
Is it dippy or a bit ruff ?
This I took as a question about whether the specimen was a Kangaroo Rat (of the genus Dipodomys) or a Rufous Rat-kangaroo (Aepyprymnus rufescens). There was another interpretation that fit with the dippy clue – the correct Family name, which is Dipodidae.
Friday’s mystery object was meant to be a bit of a challenge:
Post-cranial bones can be tricky to identify, especially if you don’t have much comparative material available.
The first challenge was to work out which bits of bone are present – something that Rhea and Jake managed very well. This particular specimen is composed of a broken portion of right mandible (showing the coronoid process, condyloid process and angular process), the left ilium, and the first three cervical vertebrae (which include the axis and atlas bones).
Identifying the species was a bit more tricky using just these few bits of bone, but several of you managed to get there. Henstridgesj was the first to suggest Continue reading →