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Putting a partial roe deer skeleton back together

Daddy and I were planning to go on a deer stalking walk today, but it was raining, so Daddy said maybe I could put one of my old deer skeletons together. I was going to do a baby roe deer skeleton, but we couldn't find all the spine bones, so we did this adult roe deer instead (we call it Eddie).

While put the bones back together in the right order, Daddy set up of his cameras to take a picture every few seconds. When we put all the pictures together it looked like this:

You can see how I sorted out the bones. There were 66 bones for this roe deer, which seems like a lot, but it's not a complete skeleton, and most of these were the ribs and vertabrae. When we found the skeleton, most of the front legs were missing, and there are other bones, like the toes, which we brought back but must have put in a different box. I started with the spine first, putting a wire through the bones so they all stayed together in the right order.

Daddy said I did a really good job doing it by myself. I put the shoulder blades in the wrong place in the video, though - they go on top of the ribs, as you can see below, and at the end we found a front leg bone which was in the wrong box. Once the bones were all together, you can see how big the roe deer used to be - about the same size as a large dog, but with longer legs.

Here's a close up of the pelvis, the end of the spine, and the top leg bones.

Here's how the spine connects to the skull. The top neck bone is called the atlas - it looks a lot different from the other next bones, but it fits perfectly onto the skull.

I wrote more about this deer's skull in this post here.

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Anonymous said...

Interesting blog, young man! Yesterday, my son, Andrew, found a deer skeleton and would like to take it to school. Could you tell us how you sterilize your animal bones before you begin handling them? Thank you! Mrs. D.

Anonymous said...

Hello Jake;
Looks like an interesting profession for your future.
Question: Can you please post a close up of the rear leg knee joint area of the leg that is most complete. We recently had a Black Tail Deer try to jump between our neighbors fence and below a string of barb wire. I believe the Doe hit the barb wire throwing her trajectory off dropping her leg into the fencing. She was hurt really bad leaving a lot of blood and some bone fragments. At first I thought she lost her tail but it was too blunt. As wide as a mans thumb, 1" and about 3" long to the broken end. After looking at several pictures of deer skeletons I believe it may have come from her rear leg, because tail fur is long and the fur on part of the bone was short. She managed to get free but I fear she may die in the mountains that we live on the edge of. I tried to track her when I got home and was told what had happened but she had an hour lead and I was having trouble finding blood signs. She was either stop bleeding or bleeding out, so I turned back. We love our deer and have watched generation after generation grow up over the past 10 years. Have some nice pictures of a 5 point and babies with their spots. We also recently had another deer die on our neighbors side of the fence 3 weeks ago. Thanks.
Greg G.

Jake said...

Did it look like this ?

If so it's the ankle bone - it wraps round the bone that's the joint of the ankle. On a deer, the ankle is not on the ground, but the first join up the leg.

paulfesta said...

Fantastic! And so helpful. I just found a deer skeleton in Mendocino, California, and am going to assemble it. Your post is just what I was looking for.

Jake said...

Glad it helped !

Anonymous said...

Hi Jake
My name is Oliver. I am nine years old. My brother, Sam, and I just found a deer skeleton on the Ashdown Forest in Sussex. Great to follow your site to help us piece ours together. Cheers

Jake said...

Hi Oliver,

Excellent find ! Deer skeletons are cool. Do you know what type of deer it it ? All deer skeletons are more or less the same, though, just different sizes.

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