Mystery bone photos at Treehugger


Alan says: "So my wife and I were hiking at Multnomah Falls on the AK-Wanee is a 2 mile hike that is definitely the "less travelled." During the hike we came across this set of bones that looks like it was laid out. Couldn't find a skull. I was wondering if anyone had an idea of what type of animal this might be? This area of the hike is pretty steep either direction off the path, so wondering what animal might inhabit or wander these hills?" Photos of mystery bones


  1. Bounced it off a rather knowledgeable friend of mine (the link, not the skeleton)… she says “White tailed deer, the hip bones give it away.”

  2. Wow a chance to apply my zooarchaeological training!

    My conclusions: (i) It is an artiodactyl, and (ii) someone may have deliberately arranged the bones.

    Most of the bones need a much more detailed image to be identifiable (other than maybe “terrestrial mammal”). However the bone which is partially obscured by the rock is a metapodial of an artiodactyl (the last image on the link is clearer).

    There are notably many bones missing. There are no femurs, humeri, radii, or ulnas, and only half of the innominate. In addition, most of the verts, most of the metapodials, one of the tibias and phalanges are missing.

    The arrangement is very curious; the arrangement is roughly anatomical, however the scapulas are both facing the wrong way (heads in), the verts are unarticulated but in a line. My best guess is that scavengers carried off parts of this fellow, and then someone came along and arranged the bones. I would not have expected the degree of arrangement found here if the animal had been scavenged.

  3. Probably a mule or black-tailed deer. I don’t think you’ll find whitetails in Oregon.

  4. Based on Takuan, Arcadian, and The Life Of Bryan, I’d say that police need to be on the lookout for an antelope in the area, known to be an accomplice of the victim (“play” was apparently just a setup).

  5. OK, Alan, where’s this “wife” you claim you had with you before you “found” the bones?

  6. I’ve seen this before. It’s a two-headed sasquatch that is usually found only in the remote regions of the Himalayas. they are migratory and they don’t have any heads… just like this skeleton! Don’t ask me why they are called “two-headed” when they don’t have heads. They just are!

  7. If these bones were on LOST you’d have at least a hundred responses, 99% of which would involve time travel.

    With that said, I’m jumping on board with Dan and saying Polar Bear.

  8. Maybe a hunter got tired/lazy and cut down his kill so he had less to carry? The limbs would be the meatier portions of the carcass, and the head would be saved as a trophy?

  9. In my experience whenever mysterious bones are found in the woods they are almost always either the remains of a previously unknown to science form of life (often a Big Foot but sometimes a run of the mill Chupacabra) or they are the remains of a person who disappeared under circumstances most mysterious and foul.

    Whatever the case there’s no way it’s a deer. I mean, come on… let’s be realistic here.

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