non-woodsy I.D. needed

Found on Plymouth beach a week ago.  it’s my favorite new natural science exhibit here at the house.

Here’s some scale:

and a side view

anyone out there know whose it is? Some suggest a vertebrae of some sort….





10 thoughts on “non-woodsy I.D. needed

  1. Its a mammal vertebrae of some type. Probably from close to the skull as the top two holes are the transverse foramen. These bones are found in the cevical part of the spine. Most likely deer…if there was crime scene tape around it I would be a little worried. (after a year of anatomy physiology this is what I’m using it for:)

  2. Having been hobbling round for the last few days with recurring lower back problem – looks a bit like a couple of vertebrae feel like at times!

    I have reference to back problems amongst 17th/18th C. joiners somewhere Peter – saved on a different computer, will dig it out for you.

    As to what the item really is – not qualifed to comment, other than isn’t creation beautiful

  3. Looks like a cervical (neck) vertebra from a from a 4-legged creature–perhaps deer or bovine because of the processes (bumps that stick out) and foramina (holes). The central foramen would be for the spinal cord with the two foramina lateral to it for the arteries going to the brain. Fish and amphibian vertebrae have different characteristics.

    I’m actually in the design stage of carving human vertebae for a replica of a spinal column with my woodcarving teacher Sheri Tharp who forwarded your inquiry to me.

    With the delight of wonder and inquiry,
    Joan Marie Passalacqua, Founder & Instructor
    Applied Anatomy Institute, Berkeley CA

  4. I hope it’s from a land animal rather than a dolphin or whale because the Feds get freaky about it. You are not allowed to bring whalebone of any kind from Canada into the U. S. When I went to NFL with St. George and Glassie in the 80s, there were whale vertebrae — BIG ones — all over every beach. But we were advised not to pick them up because we couldn’t take them back. Which seems stupid. They were already dead, I didn’t harpoon/eat them.

  5. I agree with Joan. It is a cervical vertebra. The largest hole is the central canal, housing the spinal cord. The spinous process is located at the bottom of your 1st picture with the ruler. The two smaller holes are the transverse foramenae and often the vertebral arteries course through there. The bony excrescence b/w these 2 smaller holes may be the dens. Not sure what the other bony piece is, though, maybe the clivus is attached to the vert. body in this animal??
    Wendy Stiles

  6. Hi Peter!
    This post is a bit old, but I was fishing through your blog and ran into this, my little corner of professional knowledge. I’m a zooarchaeologist, an obscure and rarely employed breed of nerd. Anyways, on to the bone:

    What you’ve got there is a rather weathered cervical vertebra from a white tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus). All clear on the marine mammal issue! There’s a slim slim slim chance looking at some of the features that it could also be a good sized domestic dog. Anyways, hope this helps! Really enjoying your blog!!
    Rob Ingraham

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