WHAT IS THIS THING? Mystery museum object #3

Picture of a mystery museum object from the Royal College of Surgeons

WHAT IS THIS THING? Inspired by a mystery object tweeted by one of my favorite websites, Collectors Weekly, I’ve decided to make a little game out of some of my own ridiculously interesting MYSTERY MUSEUM OBJECTS. Try to guess what this strange thing is before scrolling down for the answer!

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No peeking….

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Keep scrolling….

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Did you figure it out yet?

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A little farther…

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THE ANSWER:

This weird, fleshy thing is a preserved crocodile tongue (Crocodyus acutus) from the collection of the Royal College of Surgeons of England. It’s a wet preparation, made between 1760 and 1793 either by or for John Hunter, one of the most distinguished surgeons of the 18th century, and the namesake of the fantastic Hunterian Museum. (If you’re in London, make sure you check out this wonderful museum with its incredible collection of anatomical specimens!) Crocodile tongues are held in place at the bottom of their mouths by a membrane, so they can’t stick their tongues out…so I guess this is the only way to see one unless you’re getting eaten by a crocodile!

Did you figure out what this object was before you read the answer? If not, leave your guesses in the comments! For more, see Mystery Museum Object #1, Mystery Museum Object #2, Mystery Object #4, and Mystery Object #5.

// Image: from the collections of the Royal College of Surgeons of England. (The collection record for the crocodile tongue does not have a stable URL, so if you’d like to see the original record you’ll have to search for ‘crocodile’ in Surgicat, the museum’s online collection database.)

P.S. Do you know how to tell the difference between alligators and crocodiles? (I had trouble tracing the source of this image, so I’m not sure if this is the original source of this amusing infographic or not; if anyone knows the original author I’d like like to credit him or her!)

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6 thoughts on “WHAT IS THIS THING? Mystery museum object #3

  1. Pingback: WHAT IS THIS THING? Mystery museum object #4 | The Museum of Ridiculously Interesting Things

  2. Pingback: WHAT IS THIS THING? Mystery museum object #5 | The Museum of Ridiculously Interesting Things

  3. Pingback: WHAT IS THIS THING? Mystery museum object #2 | The Museum of Ridiculously Interesting Things

  4. Pingback: WHAT IS THIS THING? Mystery museum object #1 | The Museum of Ridiculously Interesting Things

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