Identify this animal bone!
November 2, 2020 5:27 PM   Subscribe

I was checking under the hood of my car on Halloween and found this bone sitting on top of the battery. Does anyone know what kind of animal it's from? Also, what kind of animal was likely to have put it there? A rat? There are lots of little toothmarks in it.
posted by Larry David Syndrome to Pets & Animals (13 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I have no way of knowing what kind of animal it's from, but I'm 99% sure it's a Humerus. Adding some dimensions and/or your (general) location would likely help.
posted by Ufez Jones at 5:49 PM on November 2, 2020 [1 favorite]

Looks like it's from a cow to me. I suspect this was a former store bought dog treat that something stole out of a dog's yard. Of course I don't know anything about your area, perhaps there are cows nearby.
posted by WalkerWestridge at 5:58 PM on November 2, 2020 [1 favorite]

It looks like a pork humerus or femur that's been out in the elements and heavily chewed upon. Maybe was a dog's bone at some point, since appropriated by something big enough to haul it up under the hood.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 5:59 PM on November 2, 2020 [3 favorites]

Agree it looks like a humerus and the scale is confusing... maybe turkey if it's on the small side?

As to who would put it there: sure maybe a rat, maybe even a mink. Regional location and local environs matter too, that can help determine what's possible and what's likely.
posted by SaltySalticid at 6:07 PM on November 2, 2020 [1 favorite]

Not sure on the bone but almost certainly put there by a rat, they love to cache stuff in cars.
posted by The otter lady at 6:11 PM on November 2, 2020 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Location is near Chicago, IL. Re: scale, I adjusted the picture on my monitor until my hand was
life sized, then measured the picture, looks like it's about 6" end-to-end. (The bone is now at the bottom
of a garbage can, so I don't think I'll be dragging it out to measure.)
posted by Larry David Syndrome at 6:17 PM on November 2, 2020

Turkey thigh bone?
posted by Oyéah at 6:38 PM on November 2, 2020 [1 favorite]

I'd say sheep.
posted by bonobothegreat at 7:03 PM on November 2, 2020

The creature who stashed the bone in your car may be a rat. Apparently this is a thing rodents do. I'm reminded of the time Neil Gaiman found that mice had been stealing leftover spaghetti out of the trash and storing it under the hood of his Mini, near the battery.

Blog post 1
Blog post 2
posted by Pallas Athena at 7:52 PM on November 2, 2020 [3 favorites]

A rodent of some kind stashed a whole mess of dog kibble on top of my engine once. Smelled delicious at first and then not so much.
posted by Pastor of Muppets at 7:59 PM on November 2, 2020 [3 favorites]

Huh. I had assumed the pop tart I found on my engine once was there from getting an oil change at the notoriously inept local Pep Boys. But maybe it was a rat.
posted by sepviva at 8:14 PM on November 2, 2020 [7 favorites]

Ahhhh, adjusted for scale, I agree with mandolin conspiracy that it is probably a pork bone. It looks to heavy and solid to be a turkey bone.
posted by WalkerWestridge at 9:20 PM on November 2, 2020 [3 favorites]

Best answer: This is very likely to be a turkey humerus. Although it is the right size to be a medium-sized mammal like a pig or sheep, if you look at the distal (bottom) end of the element you can see it is very porous where the surface has been removed. This is a characteristic of avian bones, which are hollow and light so they can fly. It's also not the right shape for a mammal humerus, which will have a more distinct head on the proximal (top) end where it fits into the scapula. The tooth marks are also highly characteristic of rodent gnawing. The two pairs of parallel just above the paper towel are a great example. Could be rat, but squirrels will also gnaw bones like this.
posted by wollaston at 7:15 AM on November 3, 2020 [8 favorites]

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