21 February 2009

Note from the Lone Male Excavator:

Inspired by our friend Jack Tseng's "What is this?" post, I've decided to place here a mystery bone and you all have to guess what it is. The winner will receive a short on-site tour of the Project 23 excavation site, or, if you are a Page Museum volunteer and have no prior knowledge of what it is, you will win a hearty handshake from the LME (Lone Male Excavator).

I want a specific answer, should be two parts: what bone is it? & what species (or I'll take family) is it?
Ideally, you should also say whether it is a right or a left and what developmental stage it is in (roughly how old was the animal).


s said...

I'll venture a guess:
left femur
dire wolf

I'm more human oriented, so think I'm close on the bone, size of wolf is totally alien to me.

Anonymous said...

Columbian mammoth
47~49 years old.

wesley ma--from China.

Doug said...

left femur, do doubt about that. I want say it's a from a big cat. I'm thinking Smilodon. I don't see any unfused ends, so I think it's mature.

vergentbill said...

It looks like the left femur of a North American horse.

Doug said...

soory, I meant "no doubt about that" i had just gotten out of bed, wasn't paying too much attention

Spencer said...

*collapses comments quickly*

I say it is a left femur from a Smilodon fatalis.

Spencer said...

BTW I should have said I believe it is an adult. Not sure if it's just me or the picture but it looks a tiny bit larger than normal.

Anonymous said...

well...glad to see you all are finding more and more bones!
my guess is:
-left femur
-either a bigcat (ie smilodon) or a bison
well it's fairly large so i'll say a full grown (smilodon) or almost full grown (bison)like a teenager!

-A Blossoming Paleontologist

Anonymous said...

well...glad to see u all are finding more and more bones!
my guess is:
left femur
smilodon or bison
age: smilodon:full grown/bison: teen
CONGRATULATION on all the finds!

-A Budding Paleontologist

Chris Clarke said...

Left femur, Panthera atrox.

Ryan said...

In regard to "s"'s guess: you are about 50% correct, as it is in fact a left femur, but much larger than a dire wolf. Dire wolves had very large heads on generally large dog bodies, but thier femurs are less than half the size of these guys. It is in the same order as the dire wolf, but so are skunks. You were able to tell this was not a human, though. How? The overall size is right for my leg.

Wesley Ma, (From China!): no, it is not a mammoth. This bone on a mammoth would be much bigger. (We don't find here the pygmy colombian mammoth that they find bones from on the channel islands off of Californias coast.)

Doug is the closest so far, in fact he would be correct according to my standards, but got to specific. Notice that Doug points out that the ends of the bone ARE well fused to the shaft; this means that this is likely from a full adult. Doug, give me the family name and you are golden, but this had better not be Doug the NHM Gallery Interpretor; if it is you only get a less than hearty handshake, as he should know this already!

vergentbill is right that it is North American and it is a left femur. Had you used a different, specific, word instead of horse, you would be (will be) the winner!

If I have time, I'll post pitures of the specific guesses that you made so you can compare them with this one.

Doug said...

not sure what you by the "NHM Gallery Interpreter". I'm just a natural history buff.

Anyway, family name: Felidae, me thinks.

Anonymous said...

is it a dermal ossicle?

Ryan said...

Ok, I read 4 comments this morning, now there are many more. However, I have only two that qualify as correct. Spencer, you should have known better; but it is a little bigger than Smilodon (the sabertooth cat).

In reply to our budding & blossoming paleontologist: Smilodon is close; same family, close in size, but diferrent sub-family. A bison femur would be much shorter, even if it were full grown and a big antique bison like we commonly get. The reason being that most of a bison's (and most other ungulates') long leg is made up of the tibia or ulna/radias and it's metapodials. So it's humeri and femora, and the muscular apparatus with these, are short and stout.

Sorry Doug, we have an employee by the same name. Yes it is a femur of a felid, you are correct now on all counts.

Chris Clark has given us the scientific name, Panthera atrox, which I should put in italics, but don't know how here. Formerly known as Felis atrox, Felis leo atrox, or occasionally as Panthera leo atrox, the American Lion is one of our favorite big Rancho La Brea carnivores and you all can learn much about them online.

Chris and Doug,
Please email me at rlong"at"tarpits.org if/when you would like a behind the scenes tour of our Project 23 excavation site.

Everyone else: it's been suggested that we do this at least once a month, so be on the lookout for another mystery bone... but the next may be more difficult, so study up!

Kirstine Steavenson said...

It's the bone from your chicken leg you had for lunch blown up on Photoshop.

Nice try, though.

Spencer said...

Well I did say it looked larger than normal Ryan....lol. And I haven't seen many P. atrox bones at all!

Meh, I've already had a tour and shaken your hand, so what'd I lose? :-P

Ryan said...

i miss ya spencer, me boy.

Spencer said...

Ah, I miss ye too, Ryan me man-boss. Why don't you come on Saturdays anyomore?

vergentbill said...

When I said North American horse I was lion so I was part right. A horse by definition is an adult, part right again. A whole is equal to the sum of its parts...