Sunday, November 14, 2010

Deer skull articulation investigation

Deer skeleton
In late October I went for a hike, even though it hadn’t rained for a solid MONTH. No exciting mushroom activity to speak of, so dry and crunchy out there, but I did find this whole deer skeleton.

I usually snag every skull I find in the woods (shhh, you’re not supposed to take stuff), and carry it home triumphantly, but I left this one. Sick of carrying stuff? Maybe I just have enough deer skulls?

I took some pictures though.

I got fascinated with the wonderful lines created by the sutures (and I just now had to call my anatomy teacher pal to ask her if it was “reticulation” or “articulation”, and she said since it’s a joint, it’s “articulation”). They allow tiny amounts of movement, which makes the skull less vulnerable.

deer skull eye socket
This is the cheekbone, with eye socket that big black curve on the left.

deer skull cheekbone
This is a broader view of the one before, showing the whole complicated mess--eye socket, nasal cavities, upper teeth at lower right, etc. Beautiful sculpture.

skull sutures
This is the top of the skull. The lines remind me of the little trails that snail mouths leave as they eat, swinging their heads from side to side. Oh, maybe you’ve never seen that. I had a fish tank next to my bed when I was little (with a pump and everything!), and there was a big snail in it that would eat the algae on the sides of the tank, and make these chew-trails on it that looked very much like the lines in the deer skull.

deer vertebrae