Home » Musuem » Week 9 Volunteering at the Royal College of Surgeons

Week 9 Volunteering at the Royal College of Surgeons

Outside of the Royal College of Surgeons. Image taken from http://nobelbiocare-eyearcourse.com/fgdp.html.
Outside of the Royal College of Surgeons. Image taken from http://nobelbiocare-eyearcourse.com/fgdp.html.

It’s that time again, I’ve been at the College again today which means I’ve been sorting through boxes of bones.

This week consisted of a lot of vertebrae in varying conditions. Each week we seem to have boxes that consist of predominately one skeletal element. It’s good in some ways – we get to grips with a particular bone each week which really helps me remember the anatomy of each bone. The downside is that it can get a little tedious and we then start to look forward to opening a next bone which consists different bones – just so there’s a bit of variation!

There wasn’t any particular bone or featured that stood out this week. We had a few pathologies, mainly on the vertebrae. The most interesting pathology we saw involved three thoracic vertebrae which were fused together. This isn’t so unusual in itself but more that fact that there were only two spinous processes. Below I’ve included an image of a normal vertebrae and you can clearly see each vertebrae has one spinous process. I’m not sure what was going on with the specimen we had today but it was clear than some fusing had taken place! Unfortunately I am not allowed to taken my own photos of the bones to show you due to ethical reasons.

Left image shows an individual thoracic vertebra. (Image taken from: ). Right image shows how normal thoracic vertebrae are arranged.  (Image taken from http://masajivarna.com/Galery1/pages/Thoracic%20Vertebrae%20Assembled.html)

Left image shows an individual thoracic vertebra. (Image taken from here). Right image shows how normal thoracic vertebrae are arranged. (Image taken from here)

The only unusual thing we found today consisted of a bit of pig bone. When we pulled it out of the box we were pretty sure that it wasn’t from a human but had no idea what it belonged to. I took it to the curator, who also studied animal bones at university as well as human, and she said that it was probably pig. Both me as the other volunteer felt pleased with ourselves – at least we had identified it correctly as a non-human bone!

Another week gone and I still enjoy looking at bones! I’m so glad to be given the opportunity to refresh my knowledge of bones again. I’ll need it too as next week is the other volunteer’s last week for a couple of months (she’s off on a dig in the north of England for 2 months). This means I’ll be on my own. I’m sure I’ll be fine but I’ll miss having that second opinion there. I guess it’ll push me out of my comfort zone – especially when it come to the bones of the hand and feet! It’ll make me trust in my own opinion too, which isn’t a bad thing as I have a tendency to doubt myself. But that’s not for another week! Until then I will enjoy the company of the other volunteer and playing with yet more bones!

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