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Background I'm doing a prehistoric nine-tails which would be believed to the common ancestor of the kitsune, the kumiho and the huli jing and five more species I made up, this early specimen lives in the Tibetan plateau during the Pliocene era just before the ice age started. The remains of this prehistoric fox was excavated from rocks up to 4,730 metres

Question How can the fossil be presented as, since the extra tails are merely dreads of matted fur? How can the pseudonym for my book tell it's a nine-tailed fox and not just another fox species?

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The tails could have anchoring points or vestigial joints where they connected even though they were just dreads of matted fur.

Alternatively in some circumstances impressions of fur could be left behind in a similar way to the way we've found fossilized feathers.

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  • $\begingroup$ When you mean by impression of fur, do you mean like that a frozen mammaoth? $\endgroup$ – Alexander R. Hunt Nov 9 '16 at 14:05
  • $\begingroup$ No, I mean like in fossilized feathers. upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/a/af/… under the right conditions feathers and similar features can be preserved. There is no reason your fox tails couldn't leave an impression. $\endgroup$ – Tim B Nov 9 '16 at 14:07
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so they have one normal tail with a skeletal core, and 8 pseudo-tails?

the tibetan plateau could make a natural mummy find possible, in fact that is probably your best bet since the tibet of the Pliocene would not have had good conditions for any kind of normal fossilization. a soap mummy might be perfect, since we still are not exactly sure what causes them.

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  • $\begingroup$ John, could the soap mummy be excavated from rocks or should it be preserved somewhere? $\endgroup$ – Alexander R. Hunt Nov 18 '16 at 21:34
  • $\begingroup$ well it depends on how loosely you use the term rock, poorly consolidated sedimentary material certainly. What happens to soap mummy in the long run if they stay buried is still poorly understood, so again lots of room for speculation. also sorry for the delayed reply. $\endgroup$ – John Nov 30 '16 at 1:12
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The early interpretation might be for bare skin with no clue as to the true situation, as was the case for dinosaurs.

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