natwise's picture

Skull found on Hastings beach

Observed: 26th December 2011 By: natwise
Skull found on Hastings beach
Skull 002
Skull 005
Skull 006

Found washed up on Hastings beach on Boxing Day. My first thought is that it's a skull, possibly of a fish or eel, possibly a bird but it seems quite large (11cm long). Could it be a bird's hip bone? If it is bone it seems almost translucent and crystalline, could this be an effect of being in salt water for a long time? Any information would be appreciated.

Species interactions

No interactions present.


bobthebirder's picture


I would guess some sort of shark or dogfish, or perhaps a ray. These all have cartilaginous skeletons, not soft but tending to be translucent as shown here.

Bob Ford

nightfly's picture

The same object or very

The same object or very similar is here with a suggestion of Sturgeon but maybe not conclusive proof that it is that.


nightfly's picture

Syrphus was on the money from

Syrphus was on the money from the outset, sorry for questioning!

A good selection of skull images are available here of cod, haddock, ling and coley, quite similar:


dejayM's picture

just arrived

I have just come to this Nathan, thanks to Cathal.
Murdo's (Syrphus) ID must be close to the mark - it is a fishy skull, I'm certain.
It's long, elongated even but looking at normal pictures of Codlike fish - that's quite resaonable.
Cathal's interest reflects his responses to mine >>here<< and he is applying experience as well as intuitive thinking.
I consider that sometimes we spend too long looking at, and relying on, WebPictures which taints the intuitive approach. Fish Skulls via Mr.Google show quite a few bird-breasts (if you know what I mean!) for instance.

To be honest we may need to rely on normal pictures of fish here, rather than worn fish-skull guesses and, as Murdo suggests, we may never be certain.
Having said all that, here is another >>short series<< of Cod-skull pictures - sorry!

nightfly's picture

Hi Derek, Yes these things

Hi Derek,

Yes these things are very curious/interesting, no doubt. The only problem with them is you need to have them in perfect condition and you almost need a perfect reference skull to hand to compare to and make a good ID. I think you'll know what I mean?

There are some useful pics online and we've both viewed some of those pics now in the course of studying various iSpot obs. and the links in the comments trails. That one I linked you showing the dorsal, profile and ventral views of cod, ling, haddock and coley is pretty good, my only gripe with it is where's the pollack??? Otherwise it does show quite well the differences in those 4 other related species.

Without some very thorough familiarisation of the various skulls and their differences, it might be hard to determine the exact species you have found or you are looking at photos of.


dejayM's picture

easy life

Yes, life would be easier if -
a/ we weren't so inquisitive
b/ all evidence is available at one source
So, I think we (you) have done enough here for now, though I suspect the subject will appear again.
I MUST say that if I had seen this site before (repeated so anyone may see which one) - then I would have been better informed at the outset - that's not very profound is it?!
Season's greetings then.