Valley of dry bones

Students in my Ornithology class complete a term paper of bone. Each student is given a dead bird (window- and road-killed). The task: dissect and study the bird, then strip its bones bare (with the help of flesh-eating beetles), and finally re-articulate the skeleton (using the magic powers of the hot glue gun). The project sits at the junction of zoology, horror, and arts-and-crafts.

The bones are presently all cleaned up and ready to be put back together (owls and vultures shown below).

“the valley … was full of bones,/…and, behold, there were very many in the open valley; and, lo, they were very dry/…there was a noise, and behold a shaking, and the bones came together, bone to his bone”

Extra credit for breathing on the slain that they might live.

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9 Responses to Valley of dry bones

  1. Pingback: Quiz: Bird Beaks | Ramble

  2. AP says:

    Yeah I’ve seen those on display in Spencer Hall. . really awesome work. How long does it take them to re-assemble the bones? I once looked into skeletonizing and reassembling a snake but decided it would be extremely difficult and tedious (though other than scaly legs, not sure that snake anatomy is all that similar to bird).

  3. Sherri McCutchen says:

    When I taught in Catholic school (Most Precious Blood), the fifth grade teacher had his students attempt to classify and reassemble the bones found in owl pellets. They lined small metal boxes ( e.g. Altoid tins) with black felt as the display background. There was something very Victorian about the resulting work.

    • For all their many failings, the Victorians were at least interested in the amazing particularities of the natural world they lived in. Trying to keep that particular tradition alive… I like the black felt idea.

  4. Robley says:

    I am envious of those lucky young people.

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