What's this crazy bone?

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A friend found this on a beach (south-east coast of Australia). It is 10cm long and solid (not like a bone from a bird). Lots of tiny foraminae as well as a central, larger passage. Any ideas anyone?
 

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  • #2
bobze
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A friend found this on a beach (south-east coast of Australia). It is 10cm long and solid (not like a bone from a bird). Lots of tiny foraminae as well as a central, larger passage. Any ideas anyone?
The pictures are blurry when I enlarge them, any chance of higher res ones? Also is it broken?
 
  • #3
Sorry - I took those on my mobile so that's the best I've got. It is definitely not broken, though.

It seems to have a ??sagittal crest as well as a ??forward facing beak-like rounded protruberance, which is flat underneath, and a ??backward facing central canal that passes through the most complex part of the bone. There are multiple small plates remeniscent of pterygoid plates coming off the complex part. (I might be interpreting backwards and forwards entirely wrong!)
 
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bobze
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Sorry - I took those on my mobile so that's the best I've got. It is definitely not broken, though.

It seems to have a ??sagittal crest as well as a ??forward facing beak-like rounded protruberance, which is flat underneath, and a ??backward facing central canal that passes through the most complex part of the bone. There are multiple small plates remeniscent of pterygoid plates coming off the complex part. (I might be interpreting backwards and forwards entirely wrong!)

It seems your thinking skull too. That is what I thought, a bony fish skull of some type, but as I said, the pictures are too blurry for me to really tell.
 
  • #5
I don't know - there are no features that fit with orbits.
 
  • #6
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I'm quite confident it's a vertebrae.
 
  • #7
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yeah it looks quite light in weight, so probabaly a fish bone, like from a big fish. looks like vertebrae or head bone or something.
 
  • #8
It is in fact quite heavy and solid, quite unlike a fish or bird bone.

If it is a vertebra, the crest near the ruler would be a spinous process, but how do you explain the feature that runs parallel to the central canal (left of image on picture with ruler)? That would completely limit extension at that level by abutting the next vertebra along. And the morphology does not fit with one in a sequence of similar bones. I suspect it's not a vertebra.
 
  • #9
bobze
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It is in fact quite heavy and solid, quite unlike a fish or bird bone.

If it is a vertebra, the crest near the ruler would be a spinous process, but how do you explain the feature that runs parallel to the central canal (left of image on picture with ruler)? That would completely limit extension at that level by abutting the next vertebra along. And the morphology does not fit with one in a sequence of similar bones. I suspect it's not a vertebra.


Miranda, considering this is a science form and not a cryptozoology forum (where my spider sense tells me this is going), it would be nice if you could get us some more information and better pictures. Asking anyone to ID a fuzzy picture of a bone found "on a beach" with very limited information is a rather daunting task, that has a light fragrance of the bigfootyologist.
 
  • #10
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A marine yeti? Now there's a thought.
 
  • #11
As I already said, I took the photos on my mobile and they are the only photos I have. As I also said, a friend found the bone - I don't have it in my possession, so I can't take more photos. I will email and ask if they are able to take further photos.

Like I said, this was found on a beach on the south-eastern Australian coast. What other information would you like?
 
  • #12
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My best guess would be a vertebra... I can see some articular facets but the bone seems to be pretty worn (from the rounded edge on the side view). If it is much of it is missing.

I also see vague resemblance to the sphenoid (which only makes a bit of sense to me in the first picture) or possibly a scapula of some creature I'm not familiar with.
 
  • #13
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I'd say that its a spine segment, one of a large mamal probably.
 
  • #14
New pictures (over two posts).

1. the 'front' seen from below
2. the 'side' seen from above/back
3. the 'back'
4. the 'front' seen from above
5. the 'side' seen from the front
6. the 'base' seen from slightly back

Hopefully you can see from these - I don't think it is worn out of shape. I believe the smooth surfaces are all innately smooth. In the shot of the back you can see that articular facet inferior to the central passage/canal.
 

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  • #15
Last three pictures.
 

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  • #16
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Well it's definitely a skull. I can clearly see the foramen magnum. Right below it is a large vertebral type of surface which tells me that the spine was straight back (an inflexible neck). So my guess is some kind of horizontal type animal with a huge sagittal (or maybe "throat") crest like a lizard or maybe a bird of some kind.

I really know human bone fragments much better than other species (having been trained to identify cremated bone fragments in a forensic archaeology class). So I'm really guessing! :P
 
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  • #17
Can it still be a skull without orbits?
 
  • #18
bobze
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Thanks for the better pictures and disproving my suspicions :tongue2:. Yes it is a skull, a teleost fish skull methinks. Let me look into a bit more, I have some friends that work extensively with teleost morphology and they could probably peg at least a genus for you.
 
  • #19
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The orbits may not be well defined. For example, birds have a sclerotic ring that supports the eye that would fall out once there's only bones left. Since they don't have an orbit like we do they can't move their eyes as much, and therefore birds swivel their head to look around instead.

For example, most skulls on this page (http://www.hiltonpond.org/ThisWeek070108.html) have pretty poorly defined orbits because the sclerotic ring fell out. Half way down the page, however, the bald eagle skull still has this ring.

If it WAS a bird the lower jaw and upper beak (which has a weak hinge) as well as the sclerotic ring would be gone.

I also thought it could be a fish too, but I really am clueless on the topic.
 
  • #20
bobze
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The orbits may not be well defined. For example, birds have a sclerotic ring that supports the eye that would fall out once there's only bones left. Since they don't have an orbit like we do they can't move their eyes as much, and therefore birds swivel their head to look around instead.

For example, most skulls on this page (http://www.hiltonpond.org/ThisWeek070108.html) have pretty poorly defined orbits because the sclerotic ring fell out. Half way down the page, however, the bald eagle skull still has this ring.

If it WAS a bird the lower jaw and upper beak (which has a weak hinge) as well as the sclerotic ring would be gone.

I also thought it could be a fish too, but I really am clueless on the topic.

Its definitely a fish. I sent it on to some fish friends, I haven't had time to check any of my books yet, though.
 
  • #21
Thanks for the better pictures and disproving my suspicions :tongue2:. Yes it is a skull, a teleost fish skull methinks. Let me look into a bit more, I have some friends that work extensively with teleost morphology and they could probably peg at least a genus for you.
That would be fantastic - I'm intrigued to learn whatever I can!
 

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