Well, here we are at the end of our virtual tour of the RVC’s little-anatomy-museum-that-could. Soon we will return to our regularly scheduled programme of dismembered cadavers and frozen body segments. I know you’ve missed them.
This post has a Stomach-Churning Rating (SCR) of 2/10, unless either penis bones or the backs of knees really gross you out (then maybe 4/10 at worst, although there is a link hidden in the text that might really freak you out).
OK, here we go. You might remember this chap, the famed racehorse Foxhunter:
And the museum features sundry other domestic-type species and their close kin, such as this sheep (a Soay Ram):
And this skeleton that is probably also a sheep, unless it is a tricky goat (notice framed photo of Bodyworlds exhibit on wall):
As well as his barnyard buddy, a quite robust pig:
But I want to focus more here on the surprises that the museum’s collection of skeletons has to offer, like this tiger poised below the pig:
Along with a wide assortment of smaller mammals such as this
kinkajou coatimundi (note: label is wrong; see this Twitter chat we had that solved this mystery):
And a rhesus monkey (our primate skeletal collection is not shabby at all!):
And a whole shelf of ossified dog (and other carnivore) penises, oh joy! (os baculum; the “penis bone” of various Primata, Rodentia, Insectivora, Carnivora and Chiroptera– the infamous mnemonic P.R.I.C.C. of comparative anatomy):
But, great as penises may be and much as the internet may love them, there is much more to see here. Carry on reading, or incur the wrath of the giant fossil walrus baculum [oosik]! (this, Freezerinos, is called an argument ad baculum, I have just discovered; had to share!)
As I mentioned way back in my first post, what really sold me on the museum when I first viewed it back in 2003 was the megafauna! Here’s a photo I dug up of how the rhino used to appear in the museum’s old settings:
And the hippo was close by:
My off-with-their heads bias rears its ugly cranial appendage here, but I’ve already shown you its skull, so rest easy craniophiles; you had your day of glory. It’s time to kneel before Zod, or in this case kneel before my collection of animal knee photos! I hate to remind you of the trauma, but I did promise this with the mystery emu knee dissection, so suppress your PTSD [knee TSD?] and come along quietly now… Let an elephant knee soothe your tortured soul (from here on, all knees are left knees, in caudal/rear view):
I’m going to continue on without providing longwinded interpretations. I’ll leave you to draw your own, and just enjoy the diversity of knee anatomy, with some surprises toward the end. Descending in the size scale from multi-tonnes to semi-tonnes, first, a rhino:
And then our hippo:
The RVC does not have a mounted giraffe skeleton but I can show you the knee from our dissections, now nice and tidy (note the absence of a fibula, reduced to a small tarsal (ankle) bone in many artiodactyls– but not pigs or hippos as you can see above; what consequences this change has for knee joint mechanics is entirely unknown! However, the fibula has such a small/nonexistent connection to the femur/knee joint in many large mammals that the consequences may be negligible; who knows.):
Now, a horse of course:
One reason I find knees so fascinating scientifically is that they are mechanically so complex (and often over-simplified as simple hinges) and yet so fragile (knee injuries are common in many species; poorly adapted humans in particular! To wit…). But I also love knees because they feature prominently in discussions of form and function in extinct animals; in particular, dinosaurs. Let’s not forget Scrotum humanum, either…
Consider a few representative dinosaur images (mostly from the AMNH; not RVC!) here, starting with my old pal Tyrannosaurus (sorry, dislocated knee in this mount; ouch!):
Now, a ceratopsian (probably Triceratops??), I think; photo-labelling fail! Could easily be some sort of hadrosaur or something, though:
For what its worth, sans massive cartilages, a sauropod knee to round out the holy trinity of Dinosauria:
Consider here how the fibula plays a greater role in the dinosaurian knee joint (as in birds, too, to some degree), compared with the mammals above. But also consider the whopping amount of soft tissues missing here, as made evident in the emu post. Daunting indeed.
We kneed to know more about knees before we can knavigate their aknatomy and make knew iknfereknces about their fukntiokn! And so I’m coming back full circle to my earlier anatomical studies this year to look more closely at knees in a variety of species; more about that later.
And that’s the end. I hope you liked the kneet photos and knurture the kneed to come back for my knext post, which will kontain more knormal spellikng.
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