Unusual vertebrae – Freak of the Week #11

There hasn’t been a Freak of the Week for a while, since I’ve been busy working on a script for a new exhibit. I’ll post much more on that later as the exhibit comes together! But here’s something for you to ponder over the cold weekend. When we’re analyzing bones, from archaeological sites, owl pellets, etc., small vertebrae can be tough to identify. Often we have to put them into a broader category, such as “small mammal”. But vertebrae from this animal really jump out at you and once you learn them, they are very recognizable. I’ve even seen these vertebrae fashioned into earrings and necklaces! So what type of animal are these from!? What makes them distinctive? They are relatively small vertebrae; the scale in the photo is in centimeters. The dorsal side (top, towards the back) of these vertebrae is actually pointed towards the bottom of the photo.

Posted February 7, 2014
Topics: Natural History

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