John, 2 mystery pictures!?!?! That’s not fair! We’ll be up for weeks puzzling over these!
Aww, deal with it. 😉
Is there a connection between these images; a clue or two; or am I just messing with you and they have nothing to do with one another? Take a gander. Take your best shot. Or take a hike!
Tell me as much as you can about the top (Mystery A) and/or bottom (Mystery B) images. Difficulty level: Integrative Anatomist.
EDIT: OK it is answer time! This one did turn out to be as challenging as I’d hoped, but there are clues that link the 2 images as being from 1 animal of a very peculiar cranial and axial (vertebral) morphology. That much may already give away the answer. And Filippo nailed it early on, with the wild swing at a guess- no hike for you, Filippo! First, in A, top, you can just barely make out the xenarthrous articulations of the vertebrae. Nice stiffening structures that may be related to the evolution of digging behaviour early in that group’s history. So this feature pegs it as a xenarthran mammal. The fur towards the top of A also helps. And there are hints of size that suggest it is not a small animal (although be careful w/that on this blog; I do use micro-CT scanners sometimes!).
Now, a lot of people focused on the conchae (scroll-like nasal bones) in B, but the clincher, as some noted, is the narrow snout AND the big tongue (grey hazy area between the mandibles, bottom of the image). The small mandible, which is edentulous, bolsters this clue.
Giant Anteater it is, then! This one was CT scanned alive; a clinical patient from some years ago (you can see one of the little IV tubes at the bottom right of B). Wonderful, weird, amazing animals, those xenarthrans!
Bravo, Filippo! Some other commenters were close to it too! Thanks for playing and come again!