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DrasticDreamer's avatar

Can anyone identify this bone?

Asked by DrasticDreamer (23983points) May 6th, 2010

This bone was found in my yard and I’m trying to figure out what kind of animal it belonged to. Can anyone help me identify it?

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30 Answers

WestRiverrat's avatar

Looks like an old cow knee joint that has been chewed on. They are a fairly common treat for large dogs.

DrasticDreamer's avatar

Looked up cow knee joint, and the one I have looks too big, or otherwise just looks too off.

OneMoreMinute's avatar

it looks more like coral from the sea.

lilikoi's avatar

It kind of does look like a cow knee bone to me….but idk… what a neat find either way!

DrasticDreamer's avatar

@lilikoi Definitely looks like a similar shape in that picture, but the one I have is a lot smaller than that. Maybe it belonged to a calf?

WestRiverrat's avatar

It could be a calf, sheep or hog. Or the knuckles of a cow look similar to the knee when they are cut up, just not so big.

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DrasticDreamer's avatar

@BoBo1946 and @OneMoreMinute It’s definitely a bone – there was some kind of rib in the same area.

BoBo1946's avatar

@DrasticDreamer got-cha….ummm..a hip? does not look like a knee!

Dog's avatar

Not a hip joint.

I sent your question to our resident biologist @Darwin. She will know for sure. Measurements or a pix with a quarter would help us gauge the size better.

Can you get a shot of the rib too?

BoBo1946's avatar

@Dog ummm…could be!

Hip | Hip Anatomy – 2:15pm
See Also: Pelvis Overview | Joints and Mechanical Equivalents | Hip Joint Replacement | Hip (Ligament View) | Hip (Muscular View) ...
www.innerbody.com/image/skel15.html – Cached – Similar

Dog's avatar

@BoBo1946 it is interesting isn’t it?
I thought it was smaller- I am eager to see another shot with a quarter.

http://www.smokeback.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/11/smk048.jpg

I am wondering about deer. They have magnificent jointed legs.

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DrasticDreamer's avatar

@Dog Absolutely. I’ll take a picture with a quarter. And I’ll take a picture of what I think is part of a rib, too. It’s broken, so I’m not sure. Gimme a sec and I’ll put the link up. :)

BoBo1946's avatar

@DrasticDreamer how big is it? is the photo about the size of the bone?

DrasticDreamer's avatar

Okay, here’s more with what I think is part of a rib, and more with the quarter added:

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WestRiverrat's avatar

Ok, that probably came from a deer or a sheep.

MissAusten's avatar

I hope it’s not part of this. Maybe you should call the FBI.

DrasticDreamer's avatar

@MissAusten I live in Oregon, so I’m not really worried about it. :P lol

Kayak8's avatar

It looks like what is left of the lateral and medial condyles of a femur (the bony prominances at the knee end of the longest leg bone). The second set of photos (with the quarter) really helps give a sense of size and I would be inclined to go with a deer-sized animal (which could be anything from a sheep to a small child). There is evidence of animal damage (small animals chew on bones left by other animals to help their own calcium intake).

I am not as convinced that the other bone is a rib, but the angle makes it a bit hard to tell. The fact that it is wider and has a narrower edge on one wide makes me think it might be another segment of the other bone. I would expect to see more curvature to the bone if it was a rib (but again, can’t really tell from the photo).

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MissAnthrope's avatar

@DrasticDreamer – Thanks for thinking of me. :)

I looked at this when you first posted it, but I really have no clue. I haven’t much studied domesticated ungulates, hee. I will say that I don’t think it’s the top of a chewed-up femur or a hip bone. The knuckle picture posted by @lilikoi looks very close to me, just on a much smaller scale. Here are some pictures of the skeleton structures of farm animals. If you look there, you’ll see the femur looks much rounder than your bone.

The ‘rib’ piece looks like it’s newer than the other one; does it seem that way, or is it just the photo? It’s hard for me to tell much from it because it looks broken, but it does kind of look like the long part of a femur that’s been chewed off the ball joint, or a portion of a long, straight bone like the femur. Is it curved at all? If it’s from a small ungulate, I would expect to see curving if it’s a rib. Though maybe it’s an adult cow rib, where I could see more gradual curving possible, and the bones are not from the same animal?

Just throwing out my thoughts to cover how stumped I am. ;)

WestRiverrat's avatar

@MissAnthrope If it was unchewed on the bones would look much rounder. I feed beef knee joints to my dogs on a regular basis. This is how they look when they are half done with them. The growth plate areas are usually the first part of a bone that is chewed off. They are not as hard to chew and it is easier to start from an end than in the middle.

DrasticDreamer's avatar

@MissAnthrope Looking at the picture below where it says “The proximal bone of the hindlimb is the femur or round bone.”, it definitely looks like the part of the bone on the far left side in the image. There’s a line that separates the long, solid part of the bone and the rounded part that I’m talking about. The more I look at it, it looks like the rounded part. Still hard to tell for sure, though.

I’m not sure if the rib (or whatever it is) was from the same animal or not. I just got curious because we don’t have dogs – but bones are suddenly appearing in our yard. We put a garden in every year, and the ground was recently tilled to do so, so maybe something was dug up in the process. We also don’t live anywhere remotely close to farmland or anything, but maybe they’re just really old bones. My curiosity is killing me! :)

MissAnthrope's avatar

@WestRiverrat – Gotcha.

Maybe where you live was farm land at one point? That or dogs burying them in your yard are my two guesses. Does it freeze where you live? Because frost heaving could explain why you’re getting stuff that previously was pretty well buried.

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brownlemur's avatar

@Kayak8 is right; it is a chunk of the distal femur. I’d need to see more photos of the other bone, but its shape and size makes me think it is a piece of another leg bone (e.g. femur, tibia), but almost certainly not a rib. Show us more and we’ll help!

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