Skulls and Bones

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 Commission

Sexing Field Dressed Mallards – PDF by Dave Oates of Nebraska Game and Parks Commission

Turkey Breastbone Identification – PDF by Dave Oates of Nebraska Game and Parks Commission

Deer

Differentiation of Mule Deer and White-tailed Deer – PDF by Dave Oates of Nebraska Game and Parks Commission

Skulls

Skulls of North Dakota Mammals – US Geological Survey

Deer Skulls

Note the absence of upper incisor teeth in the deer skull below.

deerskullsiderVirchow
Side view of deer skull. Photo by Dallas Virchow.

The photo below shows the distinct suture joints between the bones of the cranium.

skulldorsalsmVirchow
Top view of deer skull. Photo by Dallas Virchow.

Deer Pelvis

The photo below is not a skull; it is the pelvis of a white-tailed deer.

deer pelvis
Deer pelvis. Photo by Carla Vaughn.