Bone Quiz: Osteology From Outer Space

23 Sep

I saw this pop up earlier on my friend Charles Hay’s social feed and it immediately clicked as I saw osteology in space.  It’s actually the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko (bit of a mouthful) rather than a skeletal element lost in space, but can the readers of this blog identify what I think I see below?  If you can, let me know what you think it is in the comment section below and, for bonus points, tell me how these generally differ from others found in the body.  You may have to squint a bit and remember that the distal parts of this element can vary somewhat in shape…

This comet is currently the focus of attention of the space probe Rosetta’s lander, Philae, as the European Space Agency hopes to soon land on and investigate this intriguing piece of rock.  The comet is currently (in the words of Col. Chris Hadfield, or at least his FB profile) spewing out water, methane, methanol, CO2 and ammonia, a mix that is the stuff of life (but probably quite smelly).  Keep up to date here as the ESA attempts to land Philae on the comet in early November.


A recent image sent back by the ESA Rosetta probe of the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. Image credit: ESA/Rosetta/NavCam/Emily Lakdawalla.

I’ll put the answer up in a few days or so, so please leave a comment if you think you know what this is!

Bone quizzes are part of a staple diet that anybody learning human osteology at university takes part in regularly.  They are often timed tests (normally a minute or so) where you can be asked to identify a fragment of bone, side it and name any anatomical landmarks that are highlighted on the element.  It is a great way to learn your skeletal anatomy, especially before heading into an archaeological excavation where bones can often be found in unexpected places and isolated from other elements.

Further Information


Bone Quiz Answer

This quiz was probably picked bit too arcane an object for a bone quiz, but the answer can be found below.  Note in the comment’s section JB and Keneiloe’s answers for different views!

Image credit: source.

7 Responses to “Bone Quiz: Osteology From Outer Space”

  1. JB September 23, 2014 at 6:08 pm #

    First guess: hamate.

    Second guess: malleus.

    Oh curses, just reread the post and those don’t really have set ‘distal ends’. Humeral trochlea and capitulum? If not I’m out of guesses!

    • These Bones Of Mine September 23, 2014 at 7:31 pm #

      You know, I think I made this trickier then I expected! I saved the pic as what I first thought it looked like then revised my opinion. Personally I was thinking this looked like the distal phalanges of rays 2, 3, 4 of the foot (check out White & Folkens pg 302), with them being more squat than the hand phalanges. However I realise that the distal phalanges can vary.

  2. Keneiloe September 25, 2014 at 8:20 am #

    at first glance it stood out as an os coxae mostly because the top bit looks like the illiac blade. second glance and the morning coffee kicking in i can “see” what looks like a hamate.

    • These Bones Of Mine September 25, 2014 at 10:22 pm #

      This is two votes for a hamate! I saw a distal phalanx of the foot (if you look at the human bone manual by white and folkens, and squash the proximal end a bit). But you and Jess both think hamate!

    • These Bones Of Mine September 25, 2014 at 10:26 pm #

      I can definitely see the top of the iliac blade though.


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