ID a Skull

A coworker of mine found a skull that is about 2 1/2 inches wide and 3 to 4 inches long. It has this bony looking spur of bone that is about 1 1/2 inches long with tiny teeth and it has a groove on the inside. It seems to be pointing to the back of the throat and is attached right behind the jaw. We have no idea what this critter is. Do any of you have any ideas? Thanks for your help.

Can you run that by again? It sounds rather odd that the bony spur is attached at the back of the jaw and is pointing back down the throat (away from the skull). Also, is there only one attached to one jaw? Or are there two, one attached to each jaw? Or does it actually extend from the back of the skull (as in a spine)?

Do you know anyone with a digital camera? Borrow it and put some shots up somewhere like , which is still free last time I looked.

A picture would help greatly. Also, you have really only given the size and a description of this ‘spur’. What would be really helpful is a description of the teeth and eye sockets. Is the skull intact? Do you also have the mandible? There is normally a bone that runs from the back of the palate to rear of the braincase as a sort of bridge. If the back of the skull were missing or damaged, it may appear as spur with a single attachment.

Pictures are needed for sure. Not just one, but several from different angles. Eyes, teeth and the underside will all be helpful. Also, you should include something for scale, place the skull next to a ruler, or failing that, a $1 bill works.

In what part of the world did you find this school? If it wasn’t in Africa then we can rule out elephant.

Could it be a hyrax? Does the skull look like this ?

Just based on size and a location in Texas, it could be an armadillo or a(n o)possum.

Heck, from the description it could be a fish.

We need either a much more detailed description or a photo.

Hey guys:

 I just looked at the skull again and its in pretty bad shape. The spur does definitely have teeth on it and it is attached at the base of the skull close to the hinge joint of the jaw. This thing is straight like a toothpick (with serrated teeth). The spur is pointing dorsally. I looked at the mandible and it is smooth with no teeth. The skull looks kinda flat. I think that it may be a rattle snake. If it was it must have been a big one. I'm not sure about the eye sockets as the skull is chewed up, but they appear to be on the top of the skull. I really wouldn't have been that intrigued with the thing if it hadn't had had that spur with teeth pointing down the throat. I'll try and locate a digital camera and post a photo. Thanks for your help. I'm sorry that I couldn't be more descriptive.

No, its not a Hyax. I didn’t find any teeth other than those on the spur. The majority of the maxillary portion of the skull seems to be missing, but we have a mandible and it is smooth. The skull was found in a backyard in central Texas. Thanks for you help.

I believe it’s poor Yorick.
I knew him, Horatio.

I believe any snake skull will have a characteristic split lower jaw, if you have the mandible and it is in one piece, it is likely not a snake. Besides, given your dimensions, only a constrictor would have a skull quite that size.

I just noticed something else. Where the two halves of the mandible meet; the fissure connects like overlapping fingers. While, the mandible is in two halves I think that its pretty much one piece. I kinda looks like a zig-zag seam looking at it from the top. The joint where the mandible meets the skull comes to several sharp points. Versus a mammal where the mandible meets as a ball and socket joint. The sharp points aren’t due to breakage. Rattlesnakes do get pretty big in Texas, but you’re probably right. I don’t think they get this big. I hope anyway. Ha! I’ll try to take a picture or two, but there really isn’t much left of this skull. There isn’t a whole lot to see. Thanks

I have pictures published at I hope that these help. Thanks.

That almost looks like some sort of fish to me.

I’m still looking, but I can tell you that ain’t no snake skull…

It’s definitely a fish of some sort. I’m trying to get a better look but the page is loading slow for me.

Me, too. That lower jaw says “Hi, I’m designed to wolf something down whole, like a frog”, so I’d say largemouth bass or catfish. Where did your friend find it?

The “spur” with the teeth on it is a spine from one of the fins. The supposed lower jaw I think could be a pectoral girdle.

That’s what I was thinking…in that last picture (e), it looks more like some sort of a sternal plate or something. It certainly does not appear to be a mandible.