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 -------
COW PELVIS - PHOTO
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.
SPECIES VARIATION PELVIS
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 ---------
COW PELVIS DRAWING
And, a rather rough sketch of goat anatomy, but gives you an idea of
the pelvic position and shape.
PYGMY GOAT ANATOMY - REAR
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 (couldnt' find a moose)
DEER PELVIS SKETCH
DEER SKELETON - ARTIFICIAL
DEER SKELETON - DRAWING
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
UNLABELLED PELVIS DRAWING
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
Using Google Image Search I searched the terms pelvis and skeleton
combined with different animals.
Also searched same in Google.