Have you ever stumbled across a bone, perhaps while walking around the city or countryside, and wondered what type of bone it is, and what animal it belonged to? Maybe you're unsure if you're looking at left-over soup bones, or have found the first evidence of a rare species in your area. If so, have a look at this new database of bone photographs called BoneID.
The database is in its early days, so at the moment it only has images of mainly North American animal bones. But is still interesting to browse the website and see the variation in bone shapes between alligators, owls, and raccoons. You can always search their Facebook group page to see if other bone enthusiasts can help you with your bone identification.
Image of the BoneID 'Search' webpage. You can browse the photo collection by species or order, bone type, view angle, or geographic location.
If you have any images of animal bones you can send to the website creator, photographed from standard anatomical angles (anterior, posterior, cranial, caudal, lateral, inferior, superior, etc.), then be sure to let them know! I have quite a few saltwater crocodile bone photos I'll be sending their way...
About the author
Dr Caitlin Syme is a palaeontologist studying the taphonomy (preservation state) of fossil non-avian dinosaurs, crocodiles and fish from the Winton Formation, Queensland, Australia. Think forensic science or CSI for fossils, and you're on the right track!
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