Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Bone specialist needed

On Stories Beach, in Campbell River, I picked up this bird skull. I have never seen one like it before.

Top view. Part of the beak is missing. Length of this bit, 8 cm, height about 3.5 cm., as found.

Luckily, the light was great, and the skull felt fragile, so I photographed it as soon as we got back to the car, on the engine hood.

Bird skulls are usually smooth. This one seems almost feathered, but all that structure is bone. I've been searching for a match; I found a great site, skullsite dot com, with over 1000 bird skulls to compare, and looked at all the bigger ones. There's nothing like this.

Long, hollow bones.

Front view.

Side view, upside down.

The underparts of the bones reflected the light too brightly. Unfortunately, this is the best shot I've got; I packed the skull carefully to bring it home, got it here in one piece, then dropped it and broke the bottom section off.

Bottom view, broken remains.

Side view.

Any guesses? Or outright IDs?

Update: in the comments, five people so far are telling me it's a fish. I'm off to look up fish heads.


  1. It doesn't look birdy to me. At a guess, could it be some sort of fish?

  2. I'll second the suggestion that it might be a fish.

  3. Although it's been a long time since Vertebrate Structure and Evolution, I too think it looks fishy. Er, as in, from a fish.

  4. One more vote for the neurocranium (i.e. braincase) of a large fish. I teach Vert Structure from time to time so in theory I should be able to give you a better ID, but not sure who it might be. The ornamentation reminds me a bit of Sebastes.

  5. Thanks, all! I'll go look up fish bones, then.

    I never thought of fish, since the only fish bones I know are the body ones; flexible and designed to stick in your throat.


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