Monday, April 18, 2011

Mystery Science - Can you tell what it is yet?

Thanks to everybody who tweeted their guesses as to what the mystery item was. Unfortunately nobody got it right - better luck next time!

In fact, it was not a whole animal but just a 'small' part of one of the largest animals on earth. It was.... an elephant molar tooth. From an Indian elephant to be exact.

The pointy bits towards the top are the 'root' part of the tooth which would have been embedded in the gum of the animal. The specimen is resting on the rough grinding surface of the tooth.

If you compare it to the image of the molars in situ, you can see what it looks like from the underneath. An Indian elephant will produce six sets of molars in it's lifetime, although just one pair will be in use at any one time. Once that pair has been worn down, it is replaced with a new pair which push forward from the back of the mouth.


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