Someone made me a spider!

A very quick note to say thanks to everyone who came along to my installation at the Day of the Dead evening at the Cambridge Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology on Friday - it was lovely to meet you all and chat about morbid things. And especial thanks to whoever made me a spider and anonymously left it with the pickled jars. I'm really touched! *** Quick update to add a few shots of the installation - which really don't capture the massive decorations and mexican vibe going about the place on the night, or the tasty cocktails and nibbles. A dark, dank and shaky photo of the Osteology poster near the visible storage section, guiding people to find features on skulls. Unfortunately, I cou

No boner jokes please

This week, I have mostly been pondering the baculum. A wonderful friend, "glidergoth", brought me one as a present from her trip to the States, and the wonderful Museum of Osteology (previously mentioned here). I cannot speak to the truth of anyone using this as a toothpick or a coffee stirrer. But is has been a conversation piece, and raised a number of questions. The first question is: "which way around does it go?" I had thought it was sort of obvious. One end has that double-bubble shape like the knee end of a femur, or elbow end of the humerus, so surely that's the bendy joint side? I hesitate to link to the video that enlightened me (as I really can't explain the who or what or why of

Uncle Neanderthal and Auntie Denisovan

A friend recently visited the USA, and did me the marvellous favour of going to the Museum of Osteology in Oklahoma City. She did a fair job of photographing every corner for me, and we've spent many hours discussing what she saw. This really caught my eye - the most comprehensive collection of hominid skull casts I've seen. Fossil Hominids at the Museum of Osteology, Oklahoma City, OK. The skulls are positioned in height according to age - the oldest ancestors at the bottom. One of the most notable things is that there isn't a clear lineage. Our recent evolution has been puzzling, and with added investigations such as DNA, it is because it is turning out to, and I'll use the technical term,

Poo in a drawer

A couple of months ago I had a fantastic behind the scenes tour of the Oxford University Museum of Natural History (and it is with their courtesy that I can share these images). One of the many marvellous things in their storage drawers was this. At first, this is a slightly baffling drawer full of sausage shaped creatures, some with a definite spiral shape to them. They are NOT fossils - which is notable in the museum stores of paleontology. They are part of the William Buckland collection from the mid 1800s. And as I hinted at in my title, they are a drawer of poos. Okay, not quite poos. They are casts of the final portion of the intestines of various species of aquatic animals (made with