Wednesday, June 15, 2011

grunion greeting, 2011 #2

grunion greeting
full moon, 10:23-11:30, clear skies

No grunion. Surprise, surprise. Yet, we're still going out to the beach past our bedtime to check. Interesting to note, the beach has changed its horizontal shape from years past; it's much flatter now and the high tide easily reaches the rental building. I was sure the June full moon would bring those little "romantic" fish up to the beach. I even convinced a couple friends to join us. While she's never seen a grunion before, he's very familiar with grunion runs from being a beach kid in SoCal. So, this was a bit of a disappointment. We had a good time anyways, catching up, enjoying the beach by the light of the full moon, and finding all kinds of things... including the skull above. At first I thought it might be a sea otter skull. After checking online, I think it might be a house cat skull based on the postorbital bar and the teeth. I posted 2 additional pictures on Flickr, here and here. What do you think?


Jennifer said...

I also have come to that conclusion. A couple days afterwards I went looking online and all the otter skulls I saw seem to have much bigger teeth. Maybe it could have been a baby otter? But to me it seems a lot more like a cat.

Katie (Nature ID) said...

I'm just wondering if it could be anything else, besides a young sea otter or a house cat.

Neil said...

Definitely a cat of some sort. That second premolar is very distinctive. No other carnivoran has that "M-shape" with the large posterior cusp. Also the post-orbital bar is not that well-developed in mustelids. Not sure that I can rule out juvenile bobcat with this photo, but given the context, domestic cat seems much more likely

Katie (Nature ID) said...

Neil, where have you been all my Nature ID blogging life? Again, awesome information. Thank you very much!