Monday, April 1, 2013

For the Love of Bones

To kick off this bone party (and yes be prepared for many a bone joke, I'm not above that) what better way to do it than to talk about how I fell in love with bones. It goes all the way back to the second grade when the Magic School Bus was popular. That show is what shaped me into the nerd I am today. You can map my 'phases' I went through as a kid with Magic School Bus episodes. In second grade I went through my "I want to be a bone doctor phase" (yes bones doctor, I was in second grade) after watching an episode about the body including what roll bones played in the body. This concept of the structure of bones fascinated me.

Fast forward to junior year of high school in my anatomy class. We did some pretty awesome projects in that class but my favorite was our final exam. For the exam we were given a skeleton (casts of course not really bones) and had to put it back together in an hour. That was when I knew I had to do something with bones in college. I started reading all I could about bones in forensic work, anthropology, and consequently found out about the body farm in Tennessee which you all know I am also obsessed with. I'm even planning to have my body donated there when I die (morbid to some, awesome to me).

Let's fast forward again to my junior year of college when I took my forensic archaeology class. This was by far one of my favorite classes and I'm planning on doing a whole post on the subject later on this week. So for our final for this class we had to dig up a burial site that another class has buried bones and artifacts related to this persons death. We fully excavated the site, examined all bones and artifacts in the lab, and determined the manner of death.

Then it was our turn. We came up with our own scenario, artifacts, and figured out how we were going to arrange all the bones and items in the grave. What we came up with was this: our victim (one of my classmates) was riding his bike home from class when the killer (which I got to be) struck him with her car. The killer than buried the body outside of the Anthropology building (convenient, I know). To achieve our burial scene, we first from the leg bones in liquid nitrogen and then shattered them to simulate a car hitting the legs of the victim. Yes, it was as awesome as it sounds to do. In the grave we but the bones, an inner tube from a bike, my old set of glasses, his old student ID, my old name tag from the housing office, and other miscellaneous artifacts.

That class was definitely a highlight in my undergrad career. The other bone highlight would be my undergraduate research at the Matson Museum of Anthropology at my school. My focus in my research was on creating a biological anthropology section of the museum. One of my exhibits in the section was a evolutionary discovery timeline. To create this I got to "play" with all the casts of the hominids that we had in our collections. Another one of the exhibits I created was about animal bones and how they were similar and/or different from human bones. The picture above I took in the biological anthropology lab of all the bones I got to "play" with. Yes, I was basically like a kid in a candy shop getting to handle those bones and/or casts.

There are days that go by that I really miss handling those bones (hehehe) and taking those classes. Still my love of bones and my yearning to learn more about them has never stopped. I still squeal like a little girl when I read about bone discovered both evolutionary and otherwise. It is a passion that my now tech heavy Master's Program will never squash. In fact for my final project for my spatial database class I'm hoping to create a database of the evolutionary discoveries to organize them by the area they were discovered in. That spark is back and I can't wait to start working on this project.

Now remember, this blog post is part of the blog party Witches in Fiction 2013... to the Bone hosted by Pagan Culture's Magaly (who is a fellow bone lover). Head on over to her blog to see where the party continues and some lovely goodies she's giving away!
 

10 comments:

Magaly Guerrero said...

What do you mean "when the Magic School Bus was popular"? The Little Princess and I are total Magic School Bus addicts. We sing the songs and then read the books.

It is glorious to see how you fell in love with bones. I fell in love with bones through stories. First through tales told by my grandma, and then through literature, particularly Déjà Dead by Kathy Reichs in the late 90s.

Now I just love bones, but you already knew that ;-)

Sam Curtin said...

Very true, my bone loving friend! I still squeal with delight when The Magic School Bus comes on. That's so great that the two of you are fellow addicts ;)

Sarah said...

Best class assignment EVER!The simulated crime scene/burial exercise sounds like so much fun! Hmmm...I'm thinking this could be a fun Halloween activity. It's always so much fun boning up on problem solving skills in a creative way. Fabulous, Sam, just fabulous!

Sunshineshelle said...

Ohhhhh fabulous post Sam and pleased to meet you at this awesomely wicked party, you sound like you couldn't have picked a better course to study, and I think it was a hilarious image to be handed a bunch of bones to reassemble as a skeleton, I remember reading how many ones were in the hand once, How did you do it in an hour LOL?? Party on gir!!!

Sam Curtin said...

Oh it was such a wonderful class! Makes me want to go back to Penn State and take it again!

Sam Curtin said...

Pleased to meet you too! Welcome to the wonderful world of my blog! Oh and yes an hour to assemble a skeleton was quite a task! The wrist and the ankle bones alone were hard!

Linda Wildenstein said...

I have always had a fascination with bones as well. You however really have gone the way of the bone hunter....that's awesome. My grandson would love to ask you 5 million questions, I'm sure. He is big dinosaur bone guy. You'll love this, he thinks only the girls were meat eaters...comes from having a mom, a sis and an Oma in the house...we're bad to the bone females.
It's a pleasure to meet you and I look forward to the rest of your entries in Magaly's blogaversary bash.
Come see me at: http://yeoldecronesgazette.blogger.com
Oma Linda

Ashtoreth Eldritch said...

I've come over from Magaly's blog party. This is an awesome post and takes me back to my own archaeology days. Many fond memories of working with the bones there, although nothing quite as exciting as dipping bones in liquid nitrogen.

Sam Curtin said...

Oma Linda, sorry I'm just seeing this comment! My blogger has stopped giving me email alerts when people comment on my blog. It's been a pleasure taking this bone journey with you! :)

Sam Curtin said...

We like to mix it up when "playing" with bones. This post takes me back as well! :)

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