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Strange critter found in Russia

  1. Apr 17, 2008 #1

    DaveC426913

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    http://www.englishrussia.com/?p=251

    Those look like mammalian herbivore chompers.

    I'm thinkin' marine mammal. Manatee? Elephant seal?

    (Frankly, it looks to me like the Flower-Power singer-chick from the Muppet Show.)
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 17, 2008 #2

    Evo

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    Wow, it does look like the Muppet character.
     
  4. Apr 17, 2008 #3

    Moonbear

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    Why are they ruling out something like an alligator?
    http://www.evolutionnyc.com/IBS/SimpleCat/product/ASP/product-id/453809.html
    http://www.skullsite.co.uk/Gatorcroc/gatorcroc_ven.htm
    http://www.mccullagh.org/image/10d-5/alligator-skeleton-1.html

    I can't tell if that's just crud all over it or remnants of fur. But, I don't think those are herbivore teeth. It's misleading because a lot of front teeth are missing, but the sockets are there and some of the teeth present are a bit pointier than herbivore teeth. They never show inside the upper jaw to see if there are tooth sockets up on top. There's no gap between incisors and molars like there usually is in herbivores either.

    Of course, I wouldn't yet be surprised if it's a complete hoax either with someone assembling different parts of skeletons of different animals and coving it with goopy wet fur to cover the patching.
     
  5. Apr 17, 2008 #4

    DaveC426913

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    A little bit of research turns up a beluga skull http://www.skullsunlimited.com/graphics/tq-238-lg.jpg, which is an awfully good match, right down to
    - the notch in the forward upper jawline,
    - the midline ridge,
    - the pits in the lower jaw,
    - the outward flaring of the rear lower jawbone
    all easily visible in pic #8
    If it's not a beluga, it's something very similar. (Some are suggesting a beaked whale).
    Anyway, not really something exotic after all.

    D.
     
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2008
  6. Apr 17, 2008 #5

    Moonbear

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    I don't think that's that good of a match, but I think comparing that and the alligator skulls shows that, as you said, it's unlikely to be anything exotic. Some sort of aquatic mammal or reptile certainly seems likely.
     
  7. Apr 17, 2008 #6

    DaveC426913

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    Frankly, I think it looks as much like a gator or croc as a telephone does.

    Compare some of the details I added in my post above.
     
  8. Apr 17, 2008 #7

    Moonbear

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    I disagree. Those features aren't unique, and the alligator molars look more similar (I put up photos of a bunch of different alligators...there's quite a lot of variety across the species). That midline "ridge" isn't a ridge, it's a bone suture found across a variety of species.

    The notch above the tooth is a potentially distinguishing feature, but I couldn't tell if that was a feature of the skull on the unidentified critter or a piece broken off and missing (there's another "notch" more posterior too that also looks like it's a broken piece).

    Reality is, there's just not enough shown in the photos to compare with the limited photos found online of skulls. If they had scraped some of the crud back, it might have made it easier.
     
  9. Apr 18, 2008 #8

    Ivan Seeking

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    Last edited: Apr 18, 2008
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