The Natural Stuff Collection

Jonathan McGowan's Natural History Collections


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01239 viewsA lower jaw from a Sperm whale (Physeter catodon) in the Oxford University Museum of Natural History.
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02114 viewsThe sperm whale only has teeth in a long lower jaw; rarely will it have small teeth in the upper jaw. The teeth numbering up to thirty on each side are the largest canine teeth of any predator on earth.
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03115 viewsMy collection of sperm whale teeth.
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04112 viewsThis tooth came from an antique shop and had a Russian vessel and writing scribed on both sides but had been scraped off at a later date but was still visible at certain angles. It was dated 1972.
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05117 viewsThis lovely scrimshaw tooth is possibly a genuine old one, although there are many new reproductions of old style scrimshaw. It has been kept in an old box and so has not faded yellow or brown. The detail of the work is excellent and depicts whalers in the arctic in an early 19th century design. Many modern resin teeth were made during the last fifty years and are commonly found in shops depicting replica scrimshaw.
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06111 viewsThe sperm whale teeth wear down just like any other mammal teeth with age. Here we can see where the gum line was about two thirds of the way up the tooth, so only a slightly elongated curving point protruded through the gum. This one is natural and has not been filed down smooth or carved in any way. It has its natural furrows and ridges.
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07112 viewsThe very front teeth of the jaw are small and are called eye teeth. They are very similar to canine teeth of bears or seals. They are often hollow.
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08109 viewsOrca teeth (Orcinus orca) are of a similar shape but are longer and smooth. They are much smaller as the whale or large dolphin to be correct is much smaller than the sperm whale.
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09103 viewsHippos are apparently related to whales but their teeth are more similar to those of pigs. In this picture are left to right, a pygmy hippo (Hexaprotodon liberiensis) and common hippo (Hippopotamus amphibus). Average size and a very large bull hippo tooth. These tusks are modified canine teeth and are used for fighting and display. The lance-like incisor teeth are the ones that actually do damage to opponents as they are positioned in the middle of the upper or lower mouth.
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10101 viewsThe two smaller teeth to scale.
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11111 viewsHere are the lower canines with the upper showing the sharp edges and warring. These tusks came from Sierra Leone, one of the areas in West Arica where the animal had its stronghold. They were collected a Mr Carter during the 1920’s. His grandson Greg passed them on to me.
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12102 viewsPygmy hippo top and large wild boar tusk for comparison.
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