Sept 20 Bio Sci museum specimen sketches.
Lynx (Lynx canadensis) on the left, vs bobcat (Lynx rufus) on the right, showing some subtle diagnostic characteristics. Lynx skulls tend to be rounder, with shorter, thinner canines; bobcat skulls tend to be longer, with proportionately longer and thicker canines. Of course, if you’ve found a random skull and have nothing to compare it to, that’s all moot.
BUT there is an easy way to tell what you have: take off the mandible and gently set the skull on a flat surface. Get down so you can see where the skull makes contact with the surface.
Lynx skulls will rest on the tips of the canines and the occipital condyles (the bone ‘lip’ around the opening at the back of the skull- this is where the atlas, or C1 vertebrae would articulate with the skull).
Bobcat skulls will rest on the tips of the canines and the tympanic bullae (the round bulges that contain ear parts).
Random tidbit: the caracal (Caracal caracal) used to be considered part of the Lynx genus until recently. I have a caracal skull in my own collection and it rests like a lynx skull.
(The size difference depicted between these two particular specimens shouldn’t be considered diagnostic. I chose the (adult male) bobcat because of the large hole in the cranium that let me see some structures inside. The lynx was an uncharacteristically small adult female I chose because it was adorable.)