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The strange thing about George


George is the roe deer skeleton I found in February in the wood behind the Roman Fort in my village. The bones were scattered about and some were green, because they had lay there for eight months. This is what the bones looked like when we started to gather them.

We found all the big bones, but not many of the little ones like the toes. In another post, I looked at the skull and worked out that George was about 13 months old.

But there was something else about George that was strange. The femurs were different sizes ! The right femur was 205mm, which was about the same as on my other roe skeletons Eddie, Charlie and George, but the left femur was only 177mm.

First of all, I thought maybe we picked up a bone from a different deer, but we didn't think that had happened. Then dad thought maybe it had a disease when it was growing up. Then I thought maybe the bone got broken and healed wrong (like with Francis)

So dad asked a vet he knew called Stuart from the PDSA about it. The vet said he didn't think it was a disease, because disease would have made both the femurs the same. But he thought it could have been the bone was damaged while it was still growing, and that damaged one of the layers of the bone and stopped it growing. He said the deer would have been able to manage fine running on that leg, even thought it was shorter.

When we looked at the knee end of the bone we could see it was knobbly as if it had been damaged. Maybe if we found another roe skeleton that was younger than George, we might be able to work out when it was injured by measuring the femur. Luckily, I know where there is a nine month old roe body, so when it rots down maybe I can use those bones.

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