Badgers are better than cats

April 2, 2016

I wanted to do a three-way comparison between my carnivoran skulls, but I’m too impatient to wait till I’ve got the fox’s skull out of its head. So here are the two I have now: the badger (left) and the cat (right):

2016-04-01 14.34.39

(Both skulls appear with their first three cervicals.)

As you can see, the badger is more impressive in every way. It’s physically bigger of course, but also much more robust, as most easily seen in the zygomatic arches and the fully fused skull. Also relevant is the huge sagittal crest, which you will recall anchored hugely oversized jaw-muscles. In comparison, the cat’s jaw muscles were like those of pussy-cats.

It’s like the difference between a tyrannosaur and an allosaur.

You can see the crest more clearly — and general robustitude — in anterodorsolateral view:

2016-04-01 14.59.39

We really do underestimate what awesome animals badgers are. One of the many reasons I would never participate in a badger cull is simple, straightforward fear.

Do not meddle in the affairs of badgers, for they are unsubtle and quick to bite your arm off.

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7 Responses to “Badgers are better than cats”

  1. derek Says:

    Badger baiting is rightly illegal today, but in Shakespeare’s Southwark it was one of the attractions, what you might do if you weren’t in the mood for Hamlet. Bear baiting was probably more thrilling, but bears were expensive, and badgers weren’t as poor a substitute as we might think. The badger was chained to a stake and a pack of dogs set on it. The stake and the pack were to make it fair on the dogs.

  2. derek Says:

    The thing I noticed first was the huge orbits of the cat’s eyes. There’s a creature of the night, like a bush baby. Although badgers come out at night, I suppose they use their noses more.

  3. Allen Hazen Says:

    Your badger seems to be more robust than my (American) badger: certainly the sagittal crest (and its anterior, branching, chevron-shaped, extension) seem a lot higher in your specimen than in mine. Whether this is a difference between the two (not particularly closely related) species of “badger” or a sex/age/random difference, I don’t know.

  4. Mike Taylor Says:

    And that’s always the question, isn’t it? Interpreting variation is a wretched hive of scum and villainy.

  5. derek Says:

    Another thing that strikes me about the cat skull: if all we had of them were fossil bones, we’d never know about cat’s ears.

  6. Mike Taylor Says:

    I wonder if that’s true, Derek. The ears certainly wouldn’t be apparent to me, but perhaps there are subtle aspects of the skull anatomy that would give the game away to a specialist?


  7. *If it has not yet been studied across a large group of mammals*, it is certainly worth pursuing — relating bony ear features to the soft tissue shape of the pinna and other soft ear features.


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