Osteomancy II – One in the Database is Worth Two in a Box

It’s hard to resist a box marked ‘unknown skull’. Opening and unwrapping the skull showed that it a pretty large bird, the beak being the major giveaway.

The skull emerges

The skull emerges

With no data on the skull I couldn’t tell where it had come from, which would have  helped narrow down what it was.

The roundness of the cranium and the large, generalised beak immediately rounded it down to just five species; the large ratites, and the lack of casque/helmet to just four .

a few bits missing unfortunately

a few bits missing unfortunately

I looked in our osteology collection for a rhea skull, an ostrich skull, and an emu skull to compare it to.

We only have a rhea skull in the collection so I first compared it to that.

the Rhea is on the left

the Rhea is on the left

To compare it to the other skulls I used The Bird Skull Collection

Judging by the size, and the general characteristics I concluded that the skull is from an ostrich.

I then wrote it a label, and had it accessioned so I could enter it on the database.

Ostrich in TMS

Ostrich in TMS