Fossil Friday – coyote jaw

The deer bones I talked about a few weeks ago are part of a small assemblage from a housing development in Murrieta, in southwestern Riverside County. Among the other remains in the collection was a partial dentary (lower jaw) from a carnivore.

The fragment is a right dentary, shown above in lateral view with anterior to the right. Below is medial view, with anterior to the left:

And here’s the dorsal view, with anterior to the left.


The teeth are mostly missing, but the back half of the third premolar and the anterior root of the fourth premolar are preserved. Below is dorsal view with the sockets labeled:


This fragment is a good match in both size and morphology for the front half of a coyote, Canis latrans, which have been common in California since the Pleistocene:


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