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Q: What animal does this scull belong to? ( Answered 4 out of 5 stars,   0 Comments )
Subject: What animal does this scull belong to?
Category: Reference, Education and News > Teaching and Research
Asked by: kathyleecote-ga
List Price: $5.00
Posted: 25 Aug 2003 17:28 PDT
Expires: 24 Sep 2003 17:28 PDT
Question ID: 248718
What animal does this scull belong to? It was found in Maine about 20
years ago and that's all the information I have.

Request for Question Clarification by angy-ga on 25 Aug 2003 19:13 PDT
The link you have given us to the photo is a members onlyy site and
requires a name and password to access. Could you post the photograph
somewhere  else ?

Request for Question Clarification by knowledge_seeker-ga on 26 Aug 2003 07:24 PDT
hi kathyleecote,

In order for us to properly identify an animal skull, it would really
help if you could do a couple of things for us before (or after) you
re-post your picture.

1 - take pictures from all angles - front, back, top, bottom, sides

2 - If you can, include a good close up picture of the teeth - or the
holes where teeth were. (its helpful if we can count them)

3 - Make sure there is a ruler or something else in the picture that
will give us a sense of size.

Here are some samples of how you can best present the skull so that we
can identify it for you:
Admittedly, those are professional pictures, but the closer you can
get to replicating them, the better our chances are of identifying
what you've got.

And, by the way, don't worry if you can't do that. We might be able to
work with what you've got. Just do the best you can. :-)

Here's a question just like yours that I answered awhile back. As you
can see we didn't have the best pictures to start with:

Q: Identify Bone from part of Skeletal Remains of an Animal

Thanks - K~

Clarification of Question by kathyleecote-ga on 26 Aug 2003 15:43 PDT
I'm sorry everyone! This link should work:

Clarification of Question by kathyleecote-ga on 26 Aug 2003 15:47 PDT
Those are the only pictures I could get.  The person who owns it
(found it) is reluctant to let anyone see it nevermind take close ups!
 I was lucky to get the photos I did get.  The scull is hanging from
rafters in a garage... where... "it will stay until I'm gone"  I'm so

Request for Question Clarification by knowledge_seeker-ga on 26 Aug 2003 16:26 PDT
Oh! You did a great job on the pictures! 

And I can tell size by the license plate in the background. Of course
the problem is that much of it is missing, but let me do some
searching and comparisons and I'll see what I can come up with.

Btw .. I'm not even entirely sure it's a skull .. something is not
ringing quite right about it ... but give me some time to look around
and I'll get back to you.


Clarification of Question by kathyleecote-ga on 28 Aug 2003 02:20 PDT
Thank you Know!
  Please keep in mind that they are motorcycle plates.
Subject: Re: What animal does this scull belong to?
Answered By: knowledge_seeker-ga on 28 Aug 2003 08:10 PDT
Rated:4 out of 5 stars
Hi kathyleecote,

Mystery solved!

This morning I sat down with the express intent of solving your
mystery once and for all. I sat staring at your 4th picture, when
suddenly inspiration struck!

What your friend has there is no skull – it's a pelvis! 

I did a quick Google image search, and sure enough there it was. 

First, take a look at this  -------


Imagine reaching into that picture and rolling the skeleton completely
over to the right, so that the horn-like things that are facing you,
now point downward onto the table and they, along with the two
protrusions in the back, hold it up.

Now, look at your 1st picture that I have rotated 180 degrees:


Put them side by side on your screen.  See?   One is the flipped-over
version of the other.

Now, the real mystery is, what animal did it come from?  

I've used the cow as my example because it's the first thing I thought
of, and it matches really well. But, without having in my hands, I
can't tell you that for sure.

The size is still a bit elusive to me, and there is a lot of it
missing – probably chewed off by critters before your friend found it.
In addition, I can't rotate it to see it from the side or

As you can see by this comparative chart, the shapes of the different
parts of the bone are what allow us to differentiate between species.
Unfortunately many of those parts are either chewed off or can't be
seen in your picture.


One question to ask your friend is where he found it. If it was a
farmer's field, at an old slaughterhouse, or any place else where
you'd find livestock, then we have the answer. Cow – or depending on
size, goat or sheep.

Here's another very simplified drawing of a cow pelvis ---------


And, a rather rough sketch of goat anatomy, but gives you an idea of
the pelvic position and shape.


If your friend found the pelvis deep in the woods of Maine, then it's
more likely a deer or moose, again depending on size.

Here are some deer skeleton pictures (couldn’t' find a moose)




Maybe you have a sense of its size. Would that bone, with the addition
of the chewed off parts, fit into something small like a goat?  Or
large like a cow? Take a look at these pictures of a horse skeleton.


You can see from that how the size of the pelvis compares to the rest
of the body.  It's not all that big really. A pelvis of a goat or
sheep or even a deer would be quite small.

I've kept my discussion to deer, cows and other herbivores, rather
than discussing things like coyotes or wolves. This is because, from
what I can see, the pelvis doesn't really fit the shape of a
carnivore, which is much more streamlined.

Take a look at these and you'll see what I mean  ----------




And, just for a fun comparison, here is a human pelvis and another,
unidentified one that I thought showed a pelvis from an interesting
angle ---



So, although we can't narrow down an exact species for you, I'm glad
we were able to at least identify the right part of the body from
which that bone came.  I sure hope your friend isn't too disappointed
to learn that he doesn't have an actual skull hanging in his garage.
Or maybe you won't tell him? ;-)

Thanks for your question kathyleecote. It's been really fun to work


search strategy:

Using Google Image Search I searched the terms pelvis and skeleton
combined with different animals.

Also searched same in Google.
kathyleecote-ga rated this answer:4 out of 5 stars
WOW...  I'm sure glad I stumbled accross this site.  I never used it
before (or even heard of it) What a fantastic answer and so complete!!
 Not what I was hoping... funny how a "childlike" amagination can run
wild!! MANY  Thanks!!

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