Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Fossil bovine?

I found this bit of fossil bone at Maxey at the weekend. The fossils from the gravel in these here parts are apparently Ipswichian, which is a Pleistocene interglacial stage about 120,000 years ago. It appears to be a metacarpal or metatarsal of an ungulate, and at first I suspected Red Deer. But, I think it is too big (see my hand for scale), so more likely to be bovine, perhaps an aurochs or bison. Anyone have a clue how to identify these bones?

I just found an online paper on sexing American and European bison using metacarpal and metatarsal morphometrics. The line drawings particularly of the metacarpal looks very like my bone. The distal width of the bone below is 7.2cm (that is, the width of the widest part, where the articulation bit is). The measured mixed bison have DW values of 6.83-8.17cm (mean 7.51) for males and 5.91-6.93cm (mean 6.36) for females. If it were that species and that bone, therefore, our animal would appear to be a male.




1 comment:

stainton village prehistoric history said...

Hello there i am in the middle of trying to i,d a lot of mineralized bone i have found in the south tees area.
I have a bone similer to this one wich is unfused ie from a young animal at first i thought auroch or bison but after studying the distal surface pattern im not so sure it more resembles that of deer?
But as you say its huge! please feel free to visit my blog at historyofabeckblogspot.com Heath.