Quiz of the Month

We wanted to do something a little different this month...

Below are photographs of 4 animal skulls from this area, including the length (in cm) from the tip of the nose to the back of the head.

Skull 1 – Mammal: 23cm
Skull 2 – Mammal: 25cm
Skull 3 – Mammal: 15cm
Skull 4 – Wild Card: 11cm

Can you identify the species from the skulls above?

Here are a few things to look for when identifying what animal it might be:

  1. The overall size and shape of the skull
  2. The position of the eye orbitals in the skull
  3. The size of the nasal cavity
  4. The tooth configuration and shape

Essentially, what you are trying to figure out from the above questions is:

  • What does the skull resemble to you based on the size and shape?
  • Do the eyes face sideways, like a herbivore, or forwards like a predator or primate?
  • Does the animal have a well-developed sense of smell that it relies on?
  • Are the teeth flat like a herbivore’s for grinding up plant material, or sharp like a predator’s for slicing through meat? Does it have a mix of both? Does it have canines, or not?

There are other identifiers you can look for too, such as the size of the ridge that runs on top of a predator’s skull - the sagittal crest (is there extra muscle attachment for a stronger bite force?) or even the position and angle of the spinal cord with the base of the skull (how does it move?).

These things, combined with a knowledge of the individual species’ characteristics, diet, habitat, distribution and habits, and through a process of visualising the animal and matching it’s characteristics to the skull itself, can help to determine what animal it might be.



Quiz of the Month Answers



by Tess Woollgar, images courtesy of Tess Woollgar, Connorskye, Nicosmit, Slowmotiongli and Wirestock via Canva Com


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