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Mystery of jawbone found on Vernon beach solved

Devon Kilpatrick found these teeth near Kin Beach in Vernon. A pair of dentures (pictured in the upper righthand corner) were discovered in the same location and were successfully returned to their rightful owner.
Image Credit: Devon Kilpatrick
September 12, 2017 - 4:45 PM

VERNON - To the untrained eye, it looked a lot like a human jawbone.

As you’ll remember, police were quick to rule that out. The teeth, found by a local man near Kin Beach, were examined by the RCMP and identified as non-human.

So what are they? Some have guessed a deer or a dog, but the answer is neither of those species.

We asked Armstrong dentist Dr. Dirk Van Der Meer what he thought. At first, he didn’t know either — but he found someone who did.

Between a specialist at the Vancouver Aquarium and a UBC fish biology expert, the jawbone was identified as the pharyngeal teeth of a carp. Mystery solved.

“It was quite baffling for us in the dental field but nice to have an answer,” Van Der Meer said.

Carp are a large fish with “robust, molar-like” teeth, according to Fishbase.ca. Native to regions of Asia, carp first showed up in the Okanagan around 1912 as a result of populations being introduced in Washington as a food fish in 1882, says the Royal B.C. Museum. They can be identified by their long dorsal fin, large scales, and a “conspicuous” single barbel at the corner of their mouth. 

Photograph of a common carp skeleton.
Photograph of a common carp skeleton.
Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons/ Alina Zienowicz

To contact a reporter for this story, email Charlotte Helston or call 250-309-5230 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2017
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