Whose jawbone did I dig up in my backyard today?
May 12, 2019 7:33 PM   Subscribe

I was planting something in my yard and unearthed this jawbone. Whose is it? Details within.

This corner of the yard has just been used as “compost” (read: trash pile, as the things they tried to compost include an entire IKEA dresser and some shingles...) by past residents of this house. I don’t trust that area for growing food, but I’m cleaning it out and planting non-edible wildflowers and things for now. Dug this up when I made a not very deep hole.

Animals I’ve seen around or seen evidence of include squirrels, opposums, raccoons, feral cats, moles, and probably rats. I’m in Seattle. Thanks!
posted by centrifugal to Science & Nature (6 answers total)
Looks like a dog jaw.
posted by sulaine at 7:37 PM on May 12, 2019

Looking at the teeth placement and size, I'm going to suggest American Mink.
posted by ananci at 8:54 PM on May 12, 2019

I think a very small dog, or maybe a young raccoon or possum. If I had to bet money, I'd probably go with dog, though.
posted by WalkerWestridge at 9:06 PM on May 12, 2019

Not a dog, way too small. The teeth aren't deciduous so not a puppy either and probably not a cat/kitten. By the absence of carnassials, the lack of differentiation in the molars, the ramus shape and that big triangular premolar my money's on young possum.
posted by Rust Moranis at 9:27 PM on May 12, 2019 [11 favorites]

Whatever it is, it must not be full-grown because you can see the last tooth in the back has only just started to emerge and it doesn't have as many teeth as any adult jaw you try to compare it to. That makes it harder. I'm also leaning toward young possum. Nothing else seems to have that big triangular premolar Rust Moranis mentions.
posted by Redstart at 9:45 PM on May 12, 2019 [4 favorites]

Thank you all! Possum would make sense - they probably had a den among the things piled over there. I’m going to ask a local artist who makes jewelry out of found bones to turn this into something for me!
posted by centrifugal at 7:27 AM on May 13, 2019

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