Re: NANFA-- Skull ID (I think)

Dave Neely (
Mon, 10 Feb 2003 10:22:07 -0600

Dear Al,

I'm quite sure it <is> a fish skull and not part of a pelvis - note the
areas of articulation just below the vertebral foramen (the hole on the back
of the skull) - the pelvis of a bird would have distinctive areas
corresponding to the three fused bones that make it up (the ilium, ischium,
and pubis) - while this instead displays all of the characteristics of a
teleost neurocranium. The "ball and socket joint" you refer to is actually
part of the sphenotic or pterotic bones; the long cross-shaped bone on the
bottom is the parasphenoid - what forms the roof of the mouth. You have
correctly identified the orbits, and obviously the optic foramen- where the
optic nerves come through the skull from the brain to the eye.

I don't have my copy of Gregory's (1933) Fish Skulls (the classic
reference) handy... but I'll go out on a limb and guess that it's a
ladyfish, based on the minimal development of canals and the overall size
and shape.
The real expert would be Dr. Willi Bemis, at University of
Massachusetts-Amherst, who I'd guess would be more than happy to help out
with an ID. His email info is:


David A. Neely
Dept. of Biology, St. Louis University
St. Louis, MO 63103 USA
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