Do these bone fragments look human? (Need answer fast)

Okay, I guess I don’t really need the answer fast, but when I was typing up the thread title I realized I couldn’t in good conscience pass up the opportunity to include that.

Anyway, I was walking through the woods next to my house earlier today when I came across a couple of peculiar bone fragments. Now, one sees animal bones fairly regularly in the woods, so under ordinary circumstances I would have just assumed these were the same. However, the particular area where I found them happens to be the site where, last October, a small airplane crashed onto our property, killing the pilot and critically injuring his two passengers. The pieces are small and I can’t readily identify them with any animal I’ve ever seen, so I’m left queasily wondering if maybe these are small bits of remains that the coroner overlooked. :eek:

My gut feeling is that they’re just unfamiliar-looking pieces of some unfortunate rodent anatomy dropped to the forest floor by hawks or owls (especially since I can’t reconcile them with any parts of the human skeleton that I can think of), but I’d like to check with any Dopers out there who may know more about human and/or animal skeletons than I do. (Which wouldn’t take much, I don’t think. :p)

Here are some photographs, with scale included (in inches):

Fragment 1:
   Image 1
   Image 2
   Image 3
   Image 4
   Image 5

Fragment 2:
   Image 1
   Image 2
   Image 3

If I had to guess, I’d say both fragments look way too thin-walled to be part of a human skeleton, but is it possible that five months on the forest floor could have worn them away? I expect not, and in all likelihood I’m just getting creeped out by some rodent or bird remains, but still, their position within the field of residual debris from the wreckage is a little bit weird. If anyone could help me identify these bones I’d be much obliged.

My first guess is an opossum skull. In the top group, photo three seems to show the brain case (top image). Opossums have smaller brains than most other North American mammals.

The second set of photos are the zygomatic arch (cheek bone).

Note that in photos 2 and 4 of the first group you are looking at the underside of the skull. The palate has been broken off, so you can see into the rear of the nasal cavities (the sort of bulbous areas with many small cavities in the bone).

In photo 5 of the first group we are seeing the rear of the skull, upside down. The image shows the occipital condyles on either side of the foramen magnum where the spinal cord exits the skull.

Ah, thanks Colibri, that makes sense. I know we have possums around here, but they’re almost never seen (except occasionally on the highway in a flattened state), so that possibility didn’t immediately occur to me. Otherwise I suppose I might have gone and looked up “possum skeleton” in the first place. :stuck_out_tongue: