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The sheep skull I never knew I had


I found this skull part in a wood called Tam Breck wood. It was in two pieces, broken down the roof of the mouth, but Dad glued it back together. I found it in about March.

When I found it, I thought it was a red deer skull because of the size of the eye socket. The teeth looked a bit different, but I thought maybe it was just an older skull and the teeth had worn down. Here is a picture of a female red deer skull:

But when I found my first sheep skull, I realised it was a sheep skull, not a deer skull. When I look at them now it seems obvious but I didn't know it at the time. Here's a picture of my favourite sheep skull which I found back in August:

When you look at all three skulls together, it's obvious what the differences are:

  • Deer and sheep have three pre-molars and three molars, but deer teeth have darker bits in, and have bigger spikes. Sheep pre-molars are almost flat.

  • The red deer skull has a deep hollow in front of the eye socket and a cobwebby thing above on the side of the nose

  • The red deer skull is much longer and slightly wider

This is what the teeth on the bone I found looked like:

And this is them in the middle with the sheep skull on the left and the red deer skull on the right.

I felt a bit silly about making the mistake, but sometimes its difficult for even grown ups to tell the difference between different skulls, and now I have four sheep skulls so I won't make the same mistake again.

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