Archive for the ‘Mystery Anatomy Posts (all)’ Category

Just a quickie here! I’m finishing a little sabbatical at Brown University and had a bit of downtime, then ran across this confusing image that seems to have loveable, sometimes-superhero Sesame Street character Grover in it, and also poses a tough but solveable Mystery CT Slice post! So go for it! Can you find Grover? (no points for that) and can you tell us (1) what the image is of (animal/species, region of anatomy, identifiable bits), and (2) what the heck is wrong with this image and why?

Scoreboard is here for easy reference.

Difficulty: fuzzy image, amusing childhood memories.

Stomach-Churning Rating: 1/10 unless you have bad childhood memories associated with Grover.

This is the mystery image below, not the Grover image above! You cheeky monkey.

No rhyming in your answers or you lose 10000000 points! Grover is grumpy today and hates rhymes. He had a bit too much Hefeweissen and polka music last night. Pity the poor creature.


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I have a rant to do, and an anatomy vignette or two, but before I do, here is a puzzleroo: It’s a reconstructed CT scan. I’ve digitally cut off the head to be tricksy. Come on man, I ain’t just whistlin’ Dixie! What is this beastie? Not hard in the leasty.

(your answer needs neither rhyme nor Shakespearean meter, but do take the time and provide the Latin binomen for reala– don’t just call it Peter or Sheila!)

Stomach-Churning Rating: 1/10. It won’t bite.

Difficulty: decapitation.

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This is pinned to the top of the “Mystery Anatomy” page, where it shall stay for easy reference.

MYSTERY ANATOMY RULES: 5 pts for correct, spot-on and FIRST right answer, 4 pts for very close or second, 3 pts for partly right or third in line with right answer, 2 pts for a good try, 1 pt consolation prize for just trying, or for a good joke!

Poetry rounds have special rules as described there, but the general rule is that cleverness gets more points.

If you post as “anonymous” name then it all goes into the same tomb of the unknown anatomist.

If you change your answer, you may lose ~1 pt if I feel frigidly cruel.

Answers posted via Twitter, Facebook, email or whatever do not count! No appeals. I am a frigid dictator. :-)

CURRENT SCORES- In order from top, ice-cool score to lukewarm ones:

(to be reset with start of 2014 game)


The Ice-Cool Eight:

Mark Robinson [38]– 2013 WINNER!

Michael Doube/mdoube [25]

Heinrich Mallison [24]

Jaime A Headden [23]

Stu Pond [20]

Filippo [20]

RH [17]

PaoloV [15]

The Rimey Runners-Up:

hypnotosov [13]

Anath Sheridan [9]

Darren Naish/Eotyrannus [9]

Casey Holliday [8]

Henry Astley [8]

Robin Birrrdegg [8]

Lisa Buckley (@ShamanSciences) [8]

Carolyn Eadie DeBoer [7]

Chris Thomas [7]

Jason Anderson [7]

Mieke Roth [6]

Check out the 5-point Gang of Awesomeness: Chris K, Olle Håstad, 220mya, Jason, Coherentsheaf, nick gardner.

Ever-persistent 4-pointers: William Perez (vetanat), Diane Kelly, Amy Beer, Colleen, Martin Brazeau, Richard Dearden.

Zoinks, 3 points! brooke, Thomas R Holtz, Jr, Christopher Taylor, Andy Farke, dobermunk, .gabi.sobral. (@darkgabi), Dave Hone, Ryan Marek.

And in the still-in-the-running, chilled out 2 pt sector: Nicola newton, Alejandro Otero, Joy Reidenberg, unknown anatomist (oh noes! don’t let them win!), Aldo Matteucci, Dan, Bruce J. Mohn, gingerest, John Collins, Carol, cromercroxHenry, AnJaCo, Ben, pakasuchus, Lorna Steel, Sandra N, Eric Morsschauser.

Finally, the 1pt hoary horde– keep trying! protohedgehog,  mcarnall, rebecca fisher, edward ayton, Welmoed, heather, Jenn, palaeosam, Carol Robbins, Old Geezer, A Person, rjm, Robyn, Morgan, Fiver, Colleen, Amber Alink, himmapaan, AnJaCo, J Gentry, Federico “Dino” Degrange, henstridgesj, smg, Jason Poole, Roger Close, Stephanie Pierce, VIvian (Allen).

Thanks for a good game of Mystery Anatomy!  A new game will begin afresh (afrozen?) in 2014!

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It’s back! Mystery Anatomy is in full swing again after a lovely summer holiday in Antarctica- check out its fabulous tan freezerburn! We now have a new scoreboard page, too, for your convenience.

Today is another poetry round, which means you not only get 1 pt for trying but also can amaze and delight us all– and win extra points for rhapsodizing in sublime eloquence at the marvel of nature you are about to behold!

The poetry form for today is the SONNET. 14 lines as usual, but we’ll relax the form and allow you to be maximally creative– just include some rhyming, but you do not need to stick to iambic pentameter or other rigid, galling forms. You must (1) identify the specimen, (2) explain what’s important/unusual about it, and (3) have fun.

Look upon this foul form, feel its greasy exterior and inhale deeply of the same rancid perfume that might have graced Pliny’s or Caesar’s aquiline nose, while your mind reels at its historical significance, which spurred on one individual of some note to exclaim “I was so ignorant I do not even know there were three varieties… how do they differ?”


Difficulty: The poetry will be the hardest part for some.

Stomach-Churning Rating: 2/10. Again, the main threat here is the poetry.

Proceed, morpho-poets; let this museum specimen be no paltry muse!

Some labels to help those unfamiliar with the wonders of chicken foot anatomy!

Some labels to help those unfamiliar with the wonders of chicken foot anatomy! The position I’ve labelled the “extra toe” in is arbitrary; it might be “toe 1” that is the new toe. That might make more developmental sense, that the identity of “toes” has migrated up the limb to add a new toe– and is the spur in male chickens also spurred on by similar signals? No one knows, I think.

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…a daily picture of anatomy! And today the pictures are a mysteryyyyyyy! ♫

Welcome back againagain, and again (gasp, pant)– and again (exhausted howl)… and… aaaaaagaiiiiin… to Freezermas

This is the end. I’ve worked hard all week to bring you all-new content for Freezermas, and on the Seventh Day I get drunk rest— and make you do the work! Off into the hoary wilderness you go, seeking answers to eternal trivial mysteries.

Seven mystery photos of museum specimens today, each from a different museum (or other institution whose role it is to display critters, in 2/7 cases) and animal! I’ve visited all these facilities and taken these photos myself. Which specimens can you identify, and (ultra difficult) can you identify the institution it’s from?

Stomach-Churning Rating: 2/10. Super tame.

You had some impromptu practice on day 2. Very well, then. This session counts for points. If you want a recap of points, see last Mystery Dissection.

But because the pictures are small and numerous (refer to them by number 1-7, please), the points/correct answer are simplified: 2 pts for correct answer, and maybe 1 bonus pt for something clever but incorrect, 0 pts here just for shooting the breeze (“Superhuman effort isn’t worth a damn unless it achieves results.”–Ernest Shackleton), plus 1 pt extra credit if you correctly ID the museum/institution. Being first does not matter here. Just being correct. With 7 mysteries, you can freeze up a lot of points here! But…

Difficulty: Cropping. Lots of cropping. And therefore quite pixellated if you zoom in much; don’t even bother clicking to embigitate. However, there may or may not be themes between some pictures, or critical clues. They are identifiable.

Off you venture, brave Freezerinos! Wear multiple layers.

1) Freezermas7-1 2) Freezermas7-2

3) Freezermas7-3

4) Freezermas7-4 

5)Freezermas7-5 6)Freezermas7-6


But wait– there is a mystery eighth specimen, which even I am not completely sure what it is! No points for figuring it out, but mucho respect!



Happy Freezermas! One last time– sing it: “On the seventh day of Freezermas, this blo-og gave to me: one tibiotarsustwo silly Darwinsthree muscle layersfour gory heartsfive doggie models, six mangled pangl’ins a-aaaaaaand seven specimens that are mysteries!” ♪

I hope you enjoyed Freezermas. Let’s hope we’re all thawed out in time for the next one.

CLUES/ANSWERS: Click these thumbnails to embigrinate them if you need help–

snapperpareiasaurs frogfish  Sclerocephalus  Suedinosauroidaardvarks

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One for the weekend morning crowd here. The early bird gets the… cadaver?

At last I’ve managed to pore thru my photos and find something that works for a Mystery Dissection image, so without further adieu here it is! Answer will come tomorrow (Monday) night.

What is the largest structure evident (i.e. what is the picture mainly featuring) and from what group of organisms (be as specific as you can).

Remember, we have a scoreboard now, and rules for scoring. See here. Regular points for this round– Xmas is over, folks!

To recap, Mark Robinson is in the lead w/14pts, tied w/Filippo, but with Heinrich and RH close behind at 12 pts, followed by the 5-person Gang of Awesomeness at 7 pts.

Stomach-Churning Rating: 7– gooey ripeness.

Difficulty: Hmm, no comment.

Go! May Maytag be with you.

Mystery Dissection 11

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More mysterious morphology for you

I hope that you like it too

But there is a trick

The bone here is thick

And the beast might be rude, it’s true!

(What is it and what from? Answers must be in limerick form to count. Pilot scans explained in this post.)

This post is dedicated in memory of the late, great Professor Farish Jenkins, Jr; one of the best anatomists and functional morphologists ever. Excellent retrospectives here and here and here.

Aaaaaand here is the current scoreboard, as promised last time; starting from this post onwards–

RULES: 5 pts for correct, spot-on and FIRST right answer, 4 pts for very close or second, 3 pts for partly right or third in line with right answer, 2 pts for a good try, 1 pt consolation prize for just trying, or for a good joke!

If you post as “anonymous” name then it all goes into the same tomb of the unknown anatomist.

If you change your answer, you lose ~1 pt. Answers posted via Twitter, Facebook, email or whatever do not count! No appeals. I am a frigid dictator. 🙂


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A quick and easy Mystery Dissection post for you today– these objects are left over from a dissection we did awhile ago. What are they, and (for extra points) from what species (be as precise as possible)?

Speed round. Let’s see how many correct answers we can get in the next 24 hours!

Stomach-Churning Factor: 1. They won’t bite.

Difficulty: small image, oblique angle, object on the left side of the image is in the way (and not related to this post).

This will lead into a full-length blog post, hopefully to come sometime late this week, after Halloween. And there should be a Halloween bonus post this year!

Go for it!

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Hi folks, as my birthday present to you, and big thanks for racking up 70,000 blog views in 7 months (and my 50th post!), here is a new installment of Mystery CT Slice!

This time with a pilot (or scout) scan of an odd object. A pilot/scout scan is a quick, low exposure scan used to plan a series of CT slices, which shows a a larger area that is then narrowed down to focus just on the object of interest and a bit of buffer room for those slices. It generally isn’t used for much else, but sometimes can make a neat picture. As you can see here, the pilot scan area was excessively massive relative to the object. The two odd objects below the primary object of interest are scanning phantoms, used to calibrate density from Hounsfield units to actual real-world density (one is water at 1 g/cm3; the other is “cortical bone” at 1.69 g/cm3). Ignore them.

But what is this object and from what taxon? Be as specific as you can, but pinning it down to genus/species level will be bloody hard!

Stomach Churning Rating: 1/10; it doesn’t get much tamer than a pilot scan.

Difficulty Level: small image, hazy, not a lot of diagnostic traits visible, 1 main element.

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It’s puzzle time again! For a change, and to make this installment easier but fun and different, I’ll use a movie, of a 3D skeleton segmented from 480 CT slices, rather than just 1 CT slice. Let ‘er rip, folks!

Difficulty: not to scale, and dentition/jaws obscured.
Stomach-Churning Rating: 1/10; c’mon, it’s a CT scan!


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