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All about deer pedicles


Last weekend me and dad went to explore some new woods a few miles from the house. We found quite a lot of bones, including a skeleton of a young roe deer. The skeleton was in woods, and was scattered over a really big area. The jaws and skull were maybe thirty feet away from each other so we were lucky to find them all.

I decided to keep this skull because I don't have another one like it. I do already have a young roe deer skull that I wrote about here, but that one is from a female deer. You can tell this one is from a male roe deer because of the pedicles on top, which look like spikes.

This is a young roe buck skull. You can tell because of the same way I worked out the age of the other young roe doe skull. The easy way to work out the age is to look at the teeth. The last molar (M3) hasn't come through yet, and the third pre-molar (PM3) had three cusps, so it is still the baby tooth. The baby PM3 hasn't worn down as much as the one on my young roe doe skull, so it is younger. That means it must be about eight or nine months old, maybe a bit younger, which means it would have died in January.

Since the body was rotted already, but there is no green on the bones, it probably died in January 2010, maybe killed by the cold.

Pedicles are stubby things on top of male deer heads. They made of bone, are part of the skull and they are the bit that the antlers grow from and are fastened on to. Here are some pedicles from an adult red deer:

When deer are young, like in the skull I found, the pedicles look like sticks or spikes because they are still growing. Here is what the pedicles look like in the youngest deer skeleton I have, which I called Bert, and which I think was only one or two months old:

When the pedicles have finished growing, the first things that grow aren't even proper antlers at all, but little stubs under the skin. This is what the stubs looked like on my skeleton George, which helped me work out that this next skull was about 13 months old: (although I think it might have been older now).

Sometimes I see young male deer with lumps on their heads where the pedicles are growing, like this roe deer I saw near Gleneagles:

Red deer have pedicles too that grow the same way. This is a young red deer stag skull that I found on the south edge of Suicides Graves wood. The pedicles are smooth and round on the top.

This next skull is from my skeleton Quentin, and I found it about two miles away in the same wood. This red deer stag is a little bit older, and has a small stubby growth on his pedicles:

Sometimes you see young red deer stags that are this age. This young red stag was resting in the sun south of Titus Well Wood, and looks strange until you realise what is growing under the skin !

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Cat Davies said...

Hi Jake,
I am a post-graduate student in the Centre of Anatomy and Human Identification at the University of Dundee where I see you came to visit last week. Looking through your blogs, you remind me very much of a younger version of myself. When I was your age, I was the same, interested in collecting bones of any and all varieties. Your collection is very impressive! So really, what I wanted to say to you is this, don't give up! I started out collecting rabbit bones when I was 3 years old, and now I have a degree in forensic anthropology and studing for a masters degree. Good luck and happy hunting!! All the best, Cat Davies

Jake said...

Hi Cat. Thank you for your nice email ! I promise I won't give up ! I love collecting my bones and writing about them.

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