Osteo treasures somewhat related to Santa

Some months ago while out in field, a few miles north of the polar circle, I found the remains of Santa’s little helper; in other words a reindeer (Rangifer tarandus).  


The Mandible





The ulna and radius are closely linked though not fused like the Bovines.


 A vertebrae





Parts of the pelvis – one half os coxae


 and the os sacrum.


Os talus


Metatarsal bone

 rangifer-tarandus-hoof b


Phalanges number I-3


And at last this is what he/she looked like when alive.

 Magnus Reuterdahl

About Magnus Reuterdahl

I am an archaeologist/Osteologist from Sweden. My main intrest lays in north Euorpean archaeology in, preferbly the prehistory of the late iron age and the neolithic periods. I've also got a strong intrest for Chinese archaeology, especially the neolithc Yangshao culture. I also write about cultural heritage and cultural history. Mitt namn är Magnus Reuterdahl, jag är arkeolog och osteolog och arbetar företrädesvis i Sverige även om jag gjort ett par vändor till Kina. På den här bloggen skriver jag om mitt yrke, om fornlämningar, kulturarv och kulturhistoria m m. View all posts by Magnus Reuterdahl

11 responses to “Osteo treasures somewhat related to Santa

  • ArchAsa

    You killed Rudolf!!!

  • Leif

    According to my experience it is more common ti fond bones, sometime even form complete animals, in the north than in southern sweden. During the past years I have tried to clear a lot of bones, primarily from sheep, the natural way. But whenever I put them in a anthill or on the ground a fox or a badger takes them. I have tried to tie a ramahead with 1/2 inch rope to a tree. The rope was gnawed throu and the skull lost. This summer I chose to put the bones into metal baskets on top of anthills. This worked better, nonetheless several bones were lost when the baskets were dragged around the wood by a notorious scavenger. So, I congratulate you to the nice specimen. A pity thou that you could not determin its sex. But you should be able to say something about the age on basis of the teeth. Have you thought of splitting one of them to determine the age?

  • Magnus Reuterdahl

    ArchAsa – It wasn’t me… I promise… I’m just a scavenger 🙂

    Leif – When I return to Stockholm and the Osteological research laboratory sometime next year I’ll sex the reindeer, it should be fairly easy as I got a rather big part of it. The same goes for age, the growth zones on the bones, for example the proximal end of the tibia has not yet ossified so it should be fairly easy to estimate the age. I’ve also noticed that there seems to better circumstances for finding bones laying about up here though I’ve found some fine bones in Smaland as well for example the better part of wild boar, half a calf and parts of a fox. Depending on what animals one is looking for under the nests of eagles are great places to find bones from small mammalians, birds and fish.


  • Leif

    But you are not really allowed to get that close to an eagles nest are you? But maybe that only applies when the birds are nesting.

  • Leif

    ArchAsa – I´ll gladly kill Rudolf for you.
    But maybe not.

    I´d prefer a hunting opportunity on a wild reindeer, not the domesticated ones.

  • Magnus Reuterdahl

    Leif – As I’ve understand it, it is during the nesting season that it’s not allowed, though I’m not sure I would like to be all that near then anyways.

    ArchAsa – as I don’t have a licence it wouldn’t be proper, though I’ve got noting against hunting and I am considering taking the livence when it’s convient, e.g. when I know that I’ll be steady in one place more than a few months. It is of the bigger setbacks of working on short contracts,the loss of possiblity to further educate oneself through short courses etc.; for example take a huniting licence or read chinese or whatever.


  • Leif

    intensive course – that´s how I took my licence. 4 days 8 am – 9 pm. It was long since I was that tired, well not. I have small children so I´m actually used to exthausion.

  • Magnus Reuterdahl

    That’s one way to do it, though I think I would like to take my time, I’ve found that, at least for me, it’s a better way to make the knowledge lasting.

    So I’ll wait awhile and hope for a little longer employment or way not some years at a University doing post-graduate studies.

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  • Magnus Reuterdahl

    Yes fairly recently, my guess is that the animal died of either disease or by a predator of some sort a year or so ago. It doesn’t seem to have been slaughtered as it was more or less complete, part of head and some bones from the upper part of the body was missing, but I guess that it also could be a mercy kill if the animal had been sick or hurt.

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