July 18, 2016

Who needs an osteologist? (Installment 40)

Today's contribution was sent in by long-time reader Kori Filipek-Ogden, a bioarchaeologist at Durham University and Director of the Transylvania Bioarchaeology Project. She sent me this picture from Corvin Castle, which is apparently one of the seven wonders of Romania.  But even though it's one of the largest castles in Europe, it still needs an osteologist:


Whoopsies on those humeri.  At least, my elbows don't bend that way.  Odd too, since they took pains to cross the radius and ulna, as they would be if the hands were folded on the belly.  I'm also not convinced the right scapula is a right scapula, but it's hard to tell from the photo, especially since the scapulae are broken.  Kori, for her part, was "impressed" with the glue job on the skull.

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Previous Installments of Who needs an osteologist?

July 8, 2016

What I wrote @Forbes and @mental_floss in June

I just finished writing a book chapter and was feeling pretty flipping good about myself until I realized I've been falling down terribly on my PbO blogging.  The Roman Bioarchaeology Carnival is... well, non-existent, it seems.  I just can't ever remember to pull together the links from my PbO Facebook page (click on over and "like" it to get all the news as it happens) to create a regular post anymore.  The reason, of course, is both the pop-sci book I'm writing on Roman bioarchaeology and my regular blogging gigs... in that vein, here's what I wrote for them in the month of June:

mental_floss




Will I ever resurrect the Roman Bioarchaeology Carnival, you might be asking?  Chances are slim, unless I magically get an intern or research assistant who can do it for me.  So again, enjoy the Forbes and mental_floss posts, and click over to Powered by Osteons on Facebook for the latest skeleton news from around the world!

July 1, 2016

Who needs an osteologist? (Installment 39, Celebrity Edition!)

Maybe you've seen this, since it's now all over even the American news this morning? Some skeletal and intestinal remains along the shores of Loch Ness...


Yes, that Loch Ness.

It is, of course, a prank.  And a funny one.  But not a very anatomically correct one.  

Now, I'm not a zooarchaeologist, or a paleontologist, or a cryptozoologist, so take this opinion for what it is... but that looks like a pig skull (going based on the teeth here), three vertebral columns stuck together as if one long neck, probably some cow legs, a bunch of rib cages stuck together (again, probably cow judging by the size and by people's ability to get it easily).  And then a whole bunch of intestines and other offal.

If you have a better idea of what those animal bones are, do feel free to comment.

What would the Loch Ness Monster's actual skeleton look like, though, you ask?  I imagine, since it's supposed to be some sort of holdover from past epochs, it'd look more like a dinosaur -- maybe a diplodocus or, even better, the semi-aquatic nothosaurus that's been found all over Europe and Asia.

Diplodocus
Nothosaurus
   
 So while I appreciate the elaborate nature of this prank, the frankenstein quality of the Nessie "skeleton" could have been better staged.

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Previous Installments of Who needs an osteologist?

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