Is anatomy different in Peru?

Time once again for my favorite game: "What's wrong with this skeleton?"  Today's contestant comes from an NPR piece "Finders, Not Keepers: Yale Returns Artifacts to Peru".  I'm guessing NPR itself didn't take the photo - likely someone at Yale did - but the errors are egregious.  See for yourself:

Photo by Tim Moran (found at
Have at it, commenters.  How many things can you find wrong with this picture?

Once you're done with that, see previous episodes of "What's wrong with that skeleton?" - here courtesy the Daily Mail, here from Staffordshire University, and here from Bones.


Jake said…
The femurs are on the wrong sides. The ribs are in the wrong order (they go small to big, not small-big-small).
Jake said…
Why is one of the fibulas bent ?
I said…
There are 6 left metatarsals, the tibiae look much younger than the rest of the bones, and I'm not sure what's going on with the left tarsals. Also I think the scapulae are back to front.
Anonymous said…
In addition to what is been said so far, it is showing the posterior side of the scapula and they are on the wrong arms, same with the femurs. They don't know their right from their left (or front to back). The clavicle looks strange but I can't tell from the picture. Very odd looking fibula and a radius and ulna are bowed as well but this could be pathology rather than assembly.
I forgot to post a list of all the weird things with this skeleton. Here goes:

1. Femora are on the wrong side (and are laid out with the anterior or front portion facing posterior or back).

2. There are 6 metatarsals on the left foot.

3. It looks like one of those 6 metatarsals is actually a second metacarpal. Hard to tell from the picture, though.

4. The ribs seem to be sided right but should be flipped over when laid out (the inferior portions are pointing upward, when they should be pointed downward).

5. It's unclear if the 11th and 12th ribs are just missing or if someone laid them out wrong. Ribs go small (~1-3) to big (~4-10) to small again (~11-12).

6. Again, hard to tell, but the radii look like they're flipped as well, proximal to distal. The radial heads are pointing at the carpals when they should be pointed at the humeri.

7. Which means the radius and ulna should be reversed, since the radius is lateral when laid out in proper anatomical position (and here seems to be medial).

8. I think the humeri are reversed; it looks like the olecranon fossae are pointed up (anterior) when they should be down (posterior).

9. The scapulae seem wrong (like they've switched left and right/front and back), but it's hard to tell from this picture.

10. Tibiae possibly don't go with this individual. Both have clear epiphyseal lines that aren't even close to closed at both ends (which puts this person's age around 12-15 - a younger adolescent). There might be a line of fusion evident in the proximal humeri, but there are no epiphyseal lines evident on the femora, for example, and I would expect to see them in a teenager.

11. Finally, the pathologies are odd too. How is it that the left fibulae is significantly bowed without any notable changes to the left tibia? The left(?) radius/ulna are also bowed compared to the opposite side.

At any rate, I'm fairly convinced that these bones come from 2 or more people. And I'm definitely convinced that whoever laid out this skeleton knows precious little about human bony anatomy.
Anonymous said…
well said jake! im a big fan of you!

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