Wild Animals/Mystery skull


Mystery skull
Mystery skull  
At 10am this mornin I was walking along the Puntarenas beach in Costa Rica when I found a skull. I thought it would be interesting to find out what I saw. If you have any ideas that would be great!

Hi, Amanda

It's hard to identify, as the rostrum (nose part) is pretty degraded, and I think the teeth are just roots.  It looks like some species of pinniped (seal, sea lion, walrus, etc.), but I can't be sure.

I've sent this out to the Biology Department to see if any of our mammal people can get a positive I.D.  But for now I'm guessing sea lion.  I'll let you know if anyone knows exactly what it is.


Wild Animals

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Dana Krempels, Ph.D.


I'm an evolutionary biologist with a passion for animals. Ask about natural history, behavior, ecology, evolution. PLEASE NOTE:

If you have found an "orphaned" or injured wild animal or bird:
Please don't waste time asking questions on the internet, as the answers may come too late. DO NOT FEED THE ANIMAL, and DO NOT HANDLE IT unless it is in imminent danger. (Many wild "orphans" are not orphans at all!) If you are absolutely sure it is orphaned, keep it warm and quiet, and find a LICENSED WILDLIFE REHABILITATOR HERE. Don't try to raise a baby yourself, or rehabilitate an injured anmal. Many a well-intentioned rescuer will do more harm than good, especially with baby birds and baby rabbits.

Without geographic location, time of day and habitat, I can't help. A clear picture is always best.

It's impossible for me to I.D. an animal call without hearing it myself.

I'm not an expert on comparative strengths of different animals (more complicated than you might think!) nor bite forces.

I refuse to answer "Which of these two animals--X or X--would win in a fight?".

These hypothetical matchups range from impossible (Grizzly Bears and Gorillas don't even occupy the same continent.) to ridiculous (Someone asked me "Who would win a fight between a Great White Shark and a tiger?").

The vast majority of animals--even the fierce and powerful--are not as warlike as Homo sapiens, and it's childish to project our aggressiveness onto them.


I have been the fortunate caregiver to a group of Black-tailed Jackrabbits rescued from the Miami International Airport, and not releasable in this area because they are not native. I also have rehabbed and released Eastern Cottontails, and am in contact with many very experienced wildlife rescuers who regularly handle injured or orphaned rabbits and hares.

House Rabbit Society

Exotic DVM journal

I have a Ph.D. in Biology, with main areas of expertise in evolutionary biology, genetics, botany, and ecology.

©2016 About.com. All rights reserved.