The mature adult skeleton
The juvenile skeleton
Here's a comparison between a femur from an adult female red deer, and that from this skeleton. The end is fused on, but the crack on this one is still visible, and the top edge, just by the knee, isn't yet smoothed.
The elderly red deer skeleton
In older mammals, the bones begin to fuse together. This radius and ulna aren't yet fused completely, but you can see lots of bone growth along the contact points:
So what's the mystery ?There are three skeletons. The first shows signs of being an old adult (maybe 5-9 years old), the second shows signs of being under four years old, and the third is the oldest, maybe at ten years or older.
But here's the mystery: there is only one skeleton ! The bones are all from the same red deer, Roger, who I discovered as an intact skeleton four years ago. I took Roger out for some TV filming recently, which is what made me think of it again.
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