Stranger Fruit

Monday Mustelid #37

Something a little different this week …




Steppe Polecat, Mustela eversmanni Lesson 1827.

I spent three years of my life measuring mustelid skulls. I kind of miss it.


  1. #1 Morning Angel
    November 10, 2008

    Nice. I do so love bones, their strength, resiliency, artistic lines made even more poignant by their functionality. I love, too, how rife a bone is with information, skulls especially. There’s an entire encyclopedia in a skull.

  2. #2 Michael Robinson
    November 14, 2008

    Hi John,

    What did you do with all of these mustelid measurements? Were they on living species or extinct ones as well? Michael

  3. #3 John Lynch
    November 14, 2008


    Extant species. They formed the data for my PhD dissertation. You can find copies of resultant papers at – scroll down to 1997 and work backwards.

    No explorers died (or dogs eaten) in the making of my research 🙂

  4. #4 ChrisTheRed
    November 15, 2008

    Curious why the skull is annotated/labeled in Russian. Do you know anything about the specimen?

  5. #5 ChrisTheRed
    November 15, 2008

    The skull reads:
    Из колл. С. У. Стро
    ганова (From the collection of S. U. Stroganov)
    южн-Прибал. (south-Pribal.)
    [possibly Pribaltiysky: southern Baltic region]
    The rest I’m just unsure of.

    I did some searching on S.U. Stroganov, and it appears there was a fellow of the Western Siberian branch of the Soviet Academy of Sciences by this name; this table of contents shows him as the author of the first three monographs:
    “Materials on the systematics of Siberian mammals”
    “(A) new view of the shrew for Siberian fauna”
    “Materals to(ward) the knowledge of Siberian mammalians (notes on nomenclature and systematics)”

    Same guy? If so, interesting.

  6. #6 shonny
    November 21, 2008

    Interesting stuff, but a little quibble on ChrisTheRed’s translations: It reads ‘Stroganova’ as far as I can ascertain, indicating that S.U. is/was a lady (female).
    Just for the records.

  7. #7 ChrisTheRed
    November 30, 2008

    Genitive of male surnames is the -a phoneme (genitive because it’s the collection OF Stroganov), which is the same as the feminine nominal case. If it were a woman’s name, it would be Из колл. С. У. Строганови. Iz koll(ektsii) S.U. Stroganovi.

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