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Identifying Skeletal Remains

Animals can sometimes be identified by their skeletal remains. Certain skeletal structures make for easier identification than others. Sometimes, however, bones can at least help you identify broad groups of animals.

Birds

Aid to the Identification of Waterfowl Breastbones, Parts I & II - by Dave Oates of Nebraska Game and Parks

Sexing Field Dressed Mallards - (PDF) by Dave Oates of Nebraska Game and Parks

Turkey Breastbone Identification - (PDF) by Dave Oates of Nebraska Game and Parks

Deer

Differentiation of Mule Deer and White-Tailed Deer - (PDF) by Dave Oates of Nebraska Game and Parks


Skulls

Skulls of North Dakota Mammals - U.S. Geological Survey

carnivore skulls

Deer Skulls

 

A deer skull (sideview). Note the absence of upper incisor teeth. Photo Credits: Dallas Virchow

Another view (Top). This view shows the distinct suture joints between bones of the cranium. Photo Credits: Dallas Virchow

Deer Pelvis

We have received a fair number of questions from people who find the bone pictured below. Many people think it is a skull. But it is actually a pelvis of a white-tailed deer.

A pelvis of a Whilte-tailed deer. Photo by Carla Vaughn.

 

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