Shell Bone

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Frequently Asked Questions...

Can you please identify this weird bone or shell?

I found this in a small stream on my property in Conifer, Colorado. We are 15 miles west of Denver in the foothills, at 8,150ft elevation. I have done some internet searching, I cannot determine what it is.

First, is this a shell, bones of a fish, or a skull? Are those horns, antlers, or fins? Is this from a baby animal or full grown?

It measures about 3" long, and 2.5" wide with the "horns".
I have changed the settings on the web album to make sure its public. View photos of the specimen here:

https://picasaweb.google.com/leehoffman/SkullSkeletonShellPhoto?authuser=0&feat=directlink

List of colorado wildlife:

http://wildlife.state.co.us/WildlifeSpecies/Profiles/Pages/WildlifeProfiles.aspx


Best Answer...

Answer:

You'd probably have to consult a professional zoologist who's well versed in the local wildlife to get a definitive identification. Even then, it may be difficult. The photographs you have are photographs of a skull fragment. More specifically, they're the cranium, the upper part of the orbits of the eyes, and a bit of the sinus cavity. The lower part of the bones encompassing the eyes, frontal part of the sinus cavity, lower jaw, and dentition are all missing from your specimen.

That said, given its size and overall shape (wide exterior orbits, no prominent tooth ridges on the outside of the skull, but small curved indentations in the middle of the bottom which are most likely where teeth were attached, etc), it looks like part of some type of rodent skull.