A fox, a badger, a pheasant and a monitor lizard walk into a bar …

April 14, 2016

Several drinks later, they all die and somehow become skeletonised, and that’s how they all land up on a table in my office:

2016-04-14 11.12.52

Top left: pieces of monitor lizard Varanus exanthematicus. Cervical vertebrae 1-7 on the piece of paper, femora visible above them, bits of feet below them. Awaiting reassembly. The whole skeleton is there.

Top right, on a plate on top of some lizard bits: skull, cervicals and feet of common pheasant Phasianus colchicus. The skull has come apart, and I can’t figure out how to reattach the quadrates. One of the feet is cleanly prepped out and waiting to be reassembled, while the other retains some skin for now.

Bottom left: skull and anterior cervicals of red fox Vulpes vulpes. Lots of teeth came out during the defleshing process, and will need to be carefully relocated and glued after the skull has finished drying out.

Bottom right: skull and anterior cervicals of European badger Meles meles. The skull is flat-out awesome, and by far my favourite among my mammal skulls. If tyrannosaurs were medium-sized fossorial mammals, they’d have badgers’ skulls for sure. A few teeth that came out have been glued into place; once the glue is dry, this skull is done.

 

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3 Responses to “A fox, a badger, a pheasant and a monitor lizard walk into a bar …”


  1. Great stuff, Mike! Thanks too for your step-by-step instructions elsewhere. These are inspiring me…

  2. John Scanlon Says:

    Re. orienting pheasant quadrates, I would first look at http://digimorph.org/specimens/Gallus_gallus/adult/
    Have fun!

  3. Allen Hazen Says:

    One more reason for being impressed by your badger:
    http://phenomena.nationalgeographic.com/2016/04/15/paleo-profile-the-giant-bone-crushing-weasel/

    The link, alas, shows only a lateral view of the skull of Megalictis, but it LOOKS as if the sagittal crest (and “frontal chevron,” if I may so name the curved offshoots from the front of the s. cr.) are less prominent in this gigantic (“jaguar or black bear size” according to Matthew) Mustelid than they are on your badger! All the more surprising, since my impression is that large carnivores are likely to have more prominent S. Cr.s than similar small ones (e.g. Lions and Tigers have big sagittal crests, but the domestic cat hardly has one at all: I assume this is because brains don’t increase in size in proportion to body size, so in the smallFelid the brain case itself provides sufficient area to anchor the jaw muscles, whereas in bigger species there is need for more “shelf space”).


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