sea lion skull

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Just in case you ever wanted to know what a sea lion skull looks like…

I was fortunate enough to add a legal, pre-ban, complete with tag and letter of authenticity from NOAA California sea lion skull to my collection recently. He was from a scientist’s collection and was collected in the 1960s, prior to the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972. (No, I don’t know how he died.)

The skull is from a juvenile male sea lion; you can even see where his adult canines are beginning to erupt underneath the milk teeth! He’s in exquisite condition, no missing teeth and no major damage. His little baculum, which was sent along with him, was broken at some point post-mortem. The writing is from his life as a scientific specimen; I’ve opted to not clean it off partly to not damage the skull, and partly because it’s part of his history.

Anyway, since this is a rather uncommon skull, I thought I’d take some reference pictures. If you happen to use them for art reference, please let me know–I’d love to see the results! Sorry about the tag on the left side–I can’t remove that because that’s what shows he’s legal. If there are any more angles you want a photo of, just let me know!

(part of) The Skulls Exhibit at the California Academy of Sciences last summer. Mostly California sea lion skulls, although part of the exhibit is to get visitors to notice which ones “don’t belong” so, y'know. The one in the middle is fairly obvious.

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Top:

I have posted these two before, but not together.

Both skulls are from the South American sea lion, Otaria flavescens, the lower skull an adult female and the upper a juvenile of unknown sex. At 24 cm, the female is pretty substantial.

Bottom:

Also an oldie but one of my favourites - my grey seal, Halichoerus grypus. It’s likely a young female specimen so just over 20 cm, but it is otherwise absolutely perfect and I love it.

I’m posting these because next week another pinniped should join my collection :) This time a brown fur seal, Arctocephalus pusillus. Pinnipeds are somewhat a speciality of mine, so I’m really excited! I also have another specimen reserved, from the same person, but that will have to wait until I can acquire more funds. These babies aren’t cheap ;d