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Strange bones #10: the zigzag bone


On Friday, Dad was out walking in the wood where I found the mortar bomb to check whether it had been blown up where it was (it hadn't, but it was gone). As he was walking back through some fallen trees he spotted something lying on top of the ground that he had never seen before.

He picked it up and brought it back and this week I am going to write about it.
This is what it looked like when he found it:

He looked around and found a couple of leg bones, but nothing more. When he brought it back I had to work out what it was. First of all I looked at the ends. It was like two ridges with a groove inbetween, and I knew I had other bones like it. Here is it next to another bone I have:

The other end is not damaged and it was easy for me to recognise. It was a smooth ball with another bit of bone bent round it at the edge. Here it is with the same bone as before:

The bone was a femur, which is the bone between the hip and the knee. I could tell it was a right femur, and I knew from the size that it must have been from an adult roe deer. This is the bone I am talking about from my skeleton George:

Here are the two bones together. The broken one is much smaller and is a zigzag shape. It looks like it was broken and it was mended. That means the deer would have found it hard to walk on that leg, but the deer managed to live for at least a few more months afterwards because the bone has healed. The top few inches and the bottom few inches of the bone seem the right shape but the bit in the middle is completely misshapen and rough. It even has holes all the way through it.

When I was cleaning it I found two bits of broken bone which were loose in the holes. The bone was from the original bone before it broke. I don't know what it hadn't reconnected with the other bones when they were mending.

I have never seen a deer with a broken leg while they are alive, but I have found lots of misshapen leg bones. I have written other blog posts about:

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JORDAN said...


Catherine said...

Good detective work on the pathology, Jake. I think the holes in the outside of the femur are where the infected stuff (pus) would have been draining out of the wound, to the outside of the leg. Poor animal must have been in a bad way.

Keep up the good work!

Jake said...

Hi Jordan !

It must be dead now, but it probably lived for a couple of months after it broke the leg.

Hi Catherine !

I know ! Poor deer !

Anonymous said...

That is a crazy looking bone! How do you suppose the deer managed to break its leg like that? Did it maybe step in a bear trap?

Jake said...

It couldn't have been a bear trap because there are no bears in Scotland. It probably jut broke it running.

Thomas Anthony said...

I shot a whitetail doe, and its foot was snapped off an twisted badly. i scared it bad, and it might have broken it while running away, but the bone was dry and there was no blood. it was snapped off at the joint, so the bone itself wasn't broken. my Email is tanth1500@gmail.com

Jake said...

Sounds horrible ! Did you shoot it or did it run away ?

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