Saturday, May 2, 2009

Bone Discovery - Putting some pieces together

If this is a canine, I believe these would be called the Lumbar Vertebrae. Below, you can see a close up shot of one of the vertebrae.

I have uploaded the highest quality images, so you should be able to click on the image and zoom in effectively. After about 10 minutes of trial and error, I was able to assemble all the vertebrae into a complete column combined with the tail bone.

It's appearing to come together rather nicely. I attempted to continue by assembling the thoractic vertebrae, however it has turned out to be a reasonably difficult task. You can see the individual specimens lined up on the desk above the yellow paper. The pieces that have a half rib attached are also difficult to piece together. I was able to find one that lines up nicely with the existing column and placed it into position. Fortunately, this piece has one of the ribs attached and provides a better picture of the animal.

As these pieces are reasonably difficult to pieces together, I decided it was time to do a little research. I needed a frame of reference, so I looked up a skeletal diagram for felines, racoons and a canine. The closes match I found was a canine, so I was right!! The reference skeleton I used can be foung here:

The skeletal structure I have been examining has a pelvis that strongly resembles the one above. In addition, the spinal column lines up quite similarly. The femurs also appear to be anatomically correct. I would venture to say that there is sufficient evidence that this animal was in fact a canine. While lining up the femurs with the pelvis, I made an interesting observation. The right femur is what I looked at first and it lined up great. The left femur however appears to have undergone a compound fracture. The image below show the Right femur on the top and the Left femur on the bottom.

The image below provides a close up of the compound fracture.

In addition, two hairline fractures can be noted on the right femur. Each of these fractures are on opposing sides of the bone. Below are two images of each of the hairline fractures.

The area this specimen was discovered is roughly 3 meters distance from a side street that cars typically fly down. I am going to venture to say this canine was hit by a car and managed to work its way towards the brush. While in pain, it decided to sit down in the shade underneath the trees where I found it. I did not think about this at first but in the place that I discovered the bones, there was a hole dug out. It was roughly a foot or so deep and all the bones were found centered around it. Most bones were found right in the vicinity of this hole and around the outside of it. I'm wondering if the dog was in severe pain and dug out the hole? When dogs dig, they have quite a bit of weight on their hind legs and move their front legs rapidly in the regular digging motion. This would require putting a bit of weight on the heind legs. This theory doesn't seem to add up, since at least one leg was severely damaged. So now i'm really confused about where the hole came from and why?? I'll provide some photos tomorrow of the surrounding area. Perhaps you can help me solve this mystery.

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