Box of bones
November 29, 2011 10:48 PM   Subscribe

Human or what? Kids found a box of bones (photo). Here's a photo ( Sure you advise us to go to the police, but really .. any chance these are human ? Thanks
posted by Xhris to Health & Fitness (12 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Used to teach comp anatomy lab sections for many years and a semester of the class. I really doubt those are human bones and here is why...there are obviously several vertebrae sitting next to your box. Look at the "spine" sticking out of the thoracic vertebrae --they are really long and at an odd angle for humans. (Goole human vertebrae and look at the parts of each one and look for thoracic in particulsr. Also, in your box, i can see part of what looks like either a scapula or os coxae (ilium, pelvic, etc fused )--the shape is also off for a human. Id google the nsmes of those bones, too, and human to look at the shape.Typing on a tiny screen, please forgive the edits, it would take me forever to fix this.
posted by Wolfster at 11:06 PM on November 29, 2011 [3 favorites]

Not human as far as I can see. At least one ungulate metatarsal there. The vertebrae are too long to be human. The pelvis is very wrong for humans. Looks like deer to me.

I'm an archaeologist not a doctor though.
posted by Rumple at 11:08 PM on November 29, 2011

I would guess hog or horse of some sort. The femur you show is pretty long, so I'm not guessing a dog of any sort. Do you have a mandible? That would seal the deal.
posted by Gilbert at 11:09 PM on November 29, 2011

Seconding both of the major points that Wolfster mentions. The spine has wicked long processes, and second, in the box, there's a bone that has a deep but smallish socket joint.

I suggest either an acquaintance that hunts, or a regional state park with a big nature center or state university extension center, any of which should be able to figure it out, especially if it's a deer or other wildlife.
posted by cobaltnine at 11:11 PM on November 29, 2011 [1 favorite]

Taking my human osteology final tomorrow ... in agreement that it's probably not a human. The vertebrae are funky, the pelvis (?) is oddly shaped. I'd also suggest deer. Any teeth?
posted by ChuraChura at 11:13 PM on November 29, 2011

Response by poster: No skull, teeth or mandible that I can identify. Thanks for answers so far.
posted by Xhris at 11:30 PM on November 29, 2011

Since someone above recommended you call someone in a position like mine, and indeed, people leave me boxes of mysterious bones they found in the woods, I'll chime in.

Deer. Could be sheep/goat, depending on your location, proximity of farms/old housing where there might be very old trash heaps, availability of wild sheep/goat types animals. But probably deer.

I mean, there could be a tiny human fragment mixed in there, I suppose, even though I don't see one, and maybe it's some other quadruped, or a couple of quadrupeds mixed together. I'll even hedge my bets with "it's one photo, and bones are 3-D structures, etc," but from that pic I see a pile of beat-up old deer bones of roughly similar amounts of wear.
posted by Uniformitarianism Now! at 3:11 AM on November 30, 2011 [5 favorites]

Deer makes a lot of sense if there's no skull. The head may be mounted somewhere.
posted by peanut_mcgillicuty at 6:32 AM on November 30, 2011

Response by poster: We'll call it deer (Bambi?). Thank you hive mind.
posted by Xhris at 7:03 AM on November 30, 2011

If there's even a tiny chance ("there could be a tiny human fragment mixed in there"), I would absolutely turn them over. No need to get über-involved – just turn them over.
posted by xax at 9:52 AM on November 30, 2011

My gut reaction was those are deer bone, no particular reason, except everything's about the right shape and size (at least assuming that's standard milk crate size). It'd also explain the missing head (you cut the head off when you remove the hide, even if it's not a trophy buck).
posted by Gygesringtone at 11:46 AM on November 30, 2011

Not human. Not horse. Certainly not cow. Betting not dog, too big for cat. Unlikely sheep or goat from the size of the spinal process. Probably deer.
posted by BlueHorse at 2:18 PM on November 30, 2011

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