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You are here: Jake's Bones > My kangaroo skull
This is a skull I have had for a while but I haven't got round to writing about it until now. It was a special gift from one of dad's friend's Sarah who lives in the other Perth, the one in Australia. She sent me a package of something she had found by the side of the road, and she knew it was a kangaroo but not exactly what sort. She cleaned it up herself, and sent it through the post. It only took four days to go 15,000km !
Here's the outside of the package when it arrived.
It is different from other skulls I have. It is different to deer and sheep because it has top incisors (the teeth at the front) and the bone doesn't go all the way around the eye socket. It is 15cm long, which roughly the same size as a fox skull, and a bit smaller than a roe deer.
The dental formula for adult kangaroos is:
I 3/1; C0/0; PM variable; M4/4
which means: three incisors on each side on the top, one incisor on each side at the bottom, no canines, variable number of premolars and four molars. My skull has all in the incisors, three more cheek teeth, and one back tooth emerging which means it is a juvenile.
In the picture above you can see the huge entrance to the root canal at the back of the jaw. If you push a wire down the left hand hole it will come out the right hole. Unlike deer, the big hole in the thick bit of the jaw has openings on the inside and the outside of the jaw.
This is a really unusual shape for a jaw.
Here are the top and bottom sets of teeth. When you put the jaws together, the bottom incisors sit inside of the curve of the lower incisors to help them strip leaves from plants.
Here is a close up of the top incisors. One of the I1's has a crack in it. There aren't any nasal turbines (the delicate bones inside the nose like rolled up paper) in this skull
These bottom teeth are a bit like daggers. You can only see 15mm of them but they are actually 5cm long. The holes you can see are the other end of the root canal.
So what is it ?
Sarah wasn't sure what kind of kangaroo this was. She said the main type of kangaroo in Perth was the Western Grey Kangaroo which was quite small. Here is a link to a picture of one of them. But my skull doesn't look as scrunched up and doesn't have as thick a zygomatic arch (from the eye to the back of the head)
She said it was more likely to be a red kangaroo and you can see a picture of that here. That seems quite like it.
There is an Eastern Grey Kangaroo, but the upper bit of the jaw looks much thicker and the zygomatic arch looks thicker too.
I couldn't find any guides to sizes (which is the main way to tell deer apart in the UK) but I think it is a red kangaroo.
Kangaroos are funny animals which look misshapen with huge back legs and tiny front legs. Here is a kangaroo at the National Museum of Scotland. I'm not sure what type it is but it was quite small.
This is a great skull to have. Thank you Sarah !