OAKLAND -- Forensic anthropologists are being called in by the Alameda County coroner's office to help investigate a human skull found Wednesday atop a log in vehicle turnout along Grizzly Peak Boulevard near Tilden Regional Park, authorities said Thursday.
Authorities said the skull, found on a paper plate with strands of colorful beads, appears to be that of an older man. Authorities said the skull is not that of a Native American.
The skull was found about 5:40 p.m. Wednesday on Grizzly Peak, less than a half-mile west of the South Park Drive entrance to Tilden Regional Park, after an anonymous tip to Oakland police.
Police scoured the area, even sending officers down a steep, heavily wooded hill below the turnout but could find no other bones.
The coroner's office is trying to determine the age of the skull, who it belonged to and where it came from and whether placing it on the log was a prank or something else.
Authorities are hoping they have the same success in determining the origin of the skull as they did with another one found last May 8 at a West Oakland recycling center.
It turned out that the mummified skull had been used by a doctor in Santa Rosa at a medical training school, said Alameda County sheriff's Lt. Riddic Bowers, unit commander of the coroner's office.
Bowers said the skull was a man who had willed his body to science after his death. The doctor had been using it since 1986 as a teaching tool.
After the doctor died, his wife made attempts to contact different health agencies in her area to dispose of it but was unsuccessful. So she put it in a biohazard bag and placed it in a receptacle that was taken to a local recycling company and eventually to Oakland, authorities said.
Bowers said the skull has since been returned to the hospital where the doctor taught.