50 comments on “Randolf’s Mystery Bone

  1. He should of known that even mentioning the words “I have a bone” sends history folks like us into gold fever mode! And honestly it truly, truly is! Curiosity is a powerful motivator! lol

    I See Barb has joined us! I hope you get to have as much fun as we are Barb! Thank you for jumping in!

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    • Thank you J.R. for the welcome. I am Dr Peron’s newest RA and I look forward to some great conversations here and posts.

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      • Fantastic! Great to meet you Barb! I hope you are willing jump in and find fault in our theories! We all need this. lol

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        • I don’t normally go looking for fault as I believe there are many different possibilities especially when talking “ancient humans.” This field has a lot of speculation in my opinion and a lot of unknowns and people have differing interpretations which do not necessarily make one right and one wrong. The world is not that black and white in my mind. What I have found from past experience is that sometimes everyone has a piece of the puzzle but reality and truth aren’t found until we all cooperate and put our little pieces together so we can then see the “big picture.” This is not only the case in anthropology but also in biology. Often we need to take off our blinders so we can see beyond the tunnel ahead of us.

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          • Huge statement there Barb… “until we all cooperate”. 🙂 That is indeed the political problem in all this. Everyone is locking down truly needed information just so that they can sell their book… or taking it to the grave with them.

            Nobody actually cares about finding and “sharing” the real possibilities and significant knowledge in History for the best of mankind in the “Big Picture”. 🙂

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  2. Ok, let’s try this again…..if we are looking at a femur bone then it is probably from one of the end areas as seen in the diagram below. Honestly though I’m not so sure it is human.

    femur1

    The unbroken end appears very flat. Flatter than a human bone would be. It doesn’t look like anything on this end is broken off so I’m going to have to do a bit more comparative research on this.

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    • You are absolutely right. It may not be Human. 🙂 But a fossilized bone is a fossilized bone, a quadruped bone could be just as significant as a find! Just fragments have changed history! Unfortunately the origin is unknown. But seriously the word Bone always has merit and warrants research, there are whole new species and artists renditions that come from just fragments. 🙂

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      • Any find is significant I think. A single finger bone put us on the trail of the Denisovans and that trail is truly turning out to be more fascinating than any of us thought at first. Whether it is human or not is to be determined and if not then it may be from a prehistoric animal of some kind which is of high interest too. I’m going to do some more comparative study based on the photos and see if I can determine if it is human or nonhuman. But first we need to determine if this is actually a mineralized bone or just a rock. Honestly, at first glance what I find curious is the inside of this object as seen in the first pic above. I’d like to see a pic from the top and bottom end. From the top (unbroken part) it does look like the consistency of a bone but it’s hard to tell without getting a top view.

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        • I apologize for the delay in reply, I am bouncing back and forth cooking dinner for my wife, Discussing the Disney conspiracy with my friend that just showed up, and jumping in here. 🙂 lol

          Anyways I can tell you that for sure that it is indeed a bone. I have quite a few in my collection. The question is how fossilized it truly is, the stage of fossilization would be very important to determining the age.

          It truly would be fantastic if the exact origin could be traced down!

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  3. The first step in any investigation like this is to determine what we are really looking at. In this case, is a fossilized bone or what we call a “pseudo-fossil”? We have a couple of ways by which we can distinguish between a mineralized bone and what we refer to as a “pseudo-fossil” which is a rock that resembles a mineralized bone. One of those ways is in pseudo-fossils (rocks) the interior is usually compact, smooth, and uniform. In real mineralized bones we see signs of internal bone structure. In this specimen (referring to pic 1 above) we can see what appears to be internal bone structure. However, in pics 4 and 5 we see a rather smooth and uniform surface. This doesn’t necessarily indicate it is a pseudo-fossil, however, as some bone ends are smooth and appear uniform to the naked eye. In pic 1 see see that the bone was broken so we get a good look inside the bone and honestly from what I can see from the pic is what appears to be a mineralized internal bone structure. So I’d say this specimen passes this “first test.”

    Another indicator of real vs pseudo bones has to do with where it was found. Real fossils are typically found in particular rock formations. Without knowing the geologic context in which it was originally found it’s impossible to compare it with the surrounding rocks. Fossils are typically different in color from the surrounding rocks and smoother than the rocks. However, we do have the break which helps us much in identification between fossil and pseudo-fossil. In rocks (psuedofossils) we typically find that the inside is like the outside. In fossils the inside is not like the inside. In this specimen I’d say the inside is not like the outside and that indicates a mineralized bone not a rock.

    In fossil bones we can usually see the different canals and webbed structures of the bone and these are indicative of this specimen being a bone and not a rock as we can see different canals inside and a few webbed structures. This indicates we are looking at something of biological origin.

    A rather simple way to tell if this is bone or rock is called the “tongue test.” Sounds a bit corny but it works. The porous nature in some fossil bones will cause it to slightly stick to your tonue when you lick it. It’s usually a good idea to have a bottled water ready at hand lol. I can’t do this with the pic and I don’t know if Randolph has tried this test or not so this test is unanswered.

    It doesn’t take a PhD to determine whether something is a bone or a rock that looks like a bone. But simple tests like thse help us decide. So here’s what I’d conclude about this specimen based on the pictures alone.

    This appears to be a mineralized bone to me. In pic 1 I can clearly see what appears to be canals and webbing due to once being spongy inner bone structure. Pics 4 and 5 appear to show where muscle would have been attached to the bone and I notice some discoloration on top of the unbroken end as well.

    Based on what I can see from the pics I’d say this is a bone and not a pseudo-fossil (rock that resembles a bone). Randolph said he found this specimen in a pile of rocks left in his yard when he bought his property so he was not the original finder and we will never know exactly where this specimen was found or in what kind of rock/earth.

    Without seeing it physically and being able to examine small pieces under a microscope I’d say initially that based on the pics this is a fossilized bone. I also agree with Randolph for it being a lower femur bone. Now we must try to determine what it is a bone from, human or animal?

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    • You are very analytical, thorough and comprehensive Barb! 🙂 I agree with you all and it is definitely animal. I did some digging around this morning looking at ungulate limb bones and what I am finding is that almost all the limb joints have an alignment configuration to keep them inline and limit movement to only forward and aft with double ball sockets or ridges. But I don’t see this in this Randolf’s sample here.

      But there are two possibilities that might match? The upper joint of the Cannon Bone where it meets the Carpus or the upper joint of the first Phalange. It appears the size and joint configuration could be correct for either of these. I am still looking for a better picture of these particular Bone joints for a better comparison.

      https://infovisual.info/en/biology-animal/skeleton-of-a-horse

      Even though Rock hounds do it all the time…As I was reading your words I envisioned Randolf getting caught licking a rock… “That’s it…you have gone off the deep end now for sure”. lol

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      • Ok so the bone is about 2 inches long and looks about the same width on top. I came across this pic of a bone in a deer leg. Are we looking at the broken off top of a deer leg possibly from a prehistoric deer?

        deer1

        I can see a resemblance between the top portion of this leg and the one in Randolph’s photos.

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        • This is very possible! Did it happen to mention if this was a front or a rear? There are a couple very important differences.

          Hey Barb, I swear that I posted this same question first thing this morning? but apparently it did not stick and I didn’t double check it I guess. Or I posted it in the wrong place, I have done that before. Sorry about that. 🙂

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  4. You know I’ve been scratching my head all day long trying to remember where I’ve seen something similar to this before and for the life of me I can’t remember.

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    • Uh Oh…now you caught it too? Roberto and I caught that head scratching virus as soon as I joined here. Maybe It’s me spreading it around.

      The Butcher Shop or meat section at your local Market? 🙂

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    • At first I thought it might be some species of Coral Barb. But the apparent signs of muscle attachment kind of ruled that out for me. But I could be wrong 🙂

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  5. It’s very hard to determine what this is from a picture. Could it be an ancient coral? Could it be from a prehistoric horse? Could it be the fossil of some ancient deer? All of the above?

    It looks like a bone to me but from what I do not know. Could it be from some ancient sea creature? I don’t know where it was found so I have no idea. Randolf says it was in a pile of rock left behind by a previous property owner. So did they find it in the general area or 10,000 miles away?

    Many people mistake a rock for a fossil because it looks like a bone. There are ways of telling the difference such as Barb suggested above. Bone has a fibrous spongy texture inside. Rock does not. You can see pics of this at this link:

    http://www.uky.edu/KGS/fossils/fossilbones.htm

    It appears to me in pic 1 taken by Randolph that the inside of this object has a fibrous or spongy texture but it is hard to tell for sure.

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  6. I am pretty sure it is a bone. You can see the blood vessel holes, ligament and muscle attachment areas around the top rim. I see what Randolf does in it having Cartilage polish on the top, And I think it did come from an ungulate species of some sort. But then the basic leg bone joints of all four legged critters are pretty much the same in construction.

    I am really leaning towards what you and Barb suggested, a Horse or a Deer. And I think it is the front knee joint because this joint sits on several smaller balls of cartilage in the carpus area rather than big ones like a rear leg bone does. The top cartilage polished area appears to be shaped to match up with several smaller balls of cartilage. It appears to have several small mild “Cups” indented into the flat area where cartilage supported these balls.

    The rough thing to figure out would be what species?

    Hey…did we run Randolf off with this? He hasn’t dropped in and replied since…

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    • Yep, going by size it could be anyone of those. But here’s another possibility, it also looks similar to a Carpal, Meta Carpal, Tarsal or Meta Tarsal joint. If it is it would be a BIG one! lol

      But I would think anything that large would be very very old and in a more progressed stage of fossilization?

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  7. NO you folks didn’t run me off. it was the weekend and my time with my wife and dogs is sacro-sanct and the internet is barely a hobby and your blogs are about all i read besides artificial disc replacement support group. in fact i’m quitting a group because somebody whined about nothing to me. in fact as a result of this whining i’m starting a new term; insidious whining over nothing, or I WON, because those people are the loser not me HAAH!

    sorry i got off topic. i live in central Montana and in Choteau there is a dino museum. at first i thought it was petrified wood but then realized it looked more like a bone. and i had to be sure. no J.R. i did not lick it but i did test it with my teeth to see if it was bone or stone:) i am no expert in this field but i am more knowledgeable than most cabinetmakers as far as the human spine is concerned, as mine is afu. that said i agree that it is bone. i never thought about coral and that is worth considering, but i have never tested coral with my teeth.

    i’m glad i sent the pics to you rather than AO, they would say it is a phalange of a giant annunaki or reptoid or leg bone of an evil alien gray. who would have thought i do anything that would go this “viral”. crap we should get millions in grant money to figure out what this is, after all billions are spent trying to find invisible strings, dark energy, and the tiny short lived bozon. TRIGGER WARNING to Barb, i am very sarcastic and politically incorrect, i mean nobody any offense, and just like Roberto and J.R. i am deeply disturbed by the bullshit facing everybody everywhere today. sometimes i feel like an old steam locomotive pulling a steep grade with a few to many hairline cracks in the boiler. i’m just venting and if i don’t, i feel i will either go totally postal or breakdown crying my eyeballs out, just sayin’

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    • Great Randolf! Good to hear! Tell you what… I think you created the longest thread yet here at Roberto’s site with your bone. And I have to be honest say it has been seriously quite challenging to refrain from injecting humorous language into this conversation we are all engaged in here… lol

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  8. Like the new term and I think it has some universal applications lol. Don’t worry about triggering me as I’m not easily triggered and if I am I can deal with it. Giving us the general area where this may have been found is very helpful as it gives us some focus and we can compare it to other fossils in the region. I am a bit familiar with the Choteau site (Egg Mountain). In fact, it is one of the most important sites in the world. There are a variety of prehistoric species found in this area so now we will try to narrow it down for you as to what the bone belonged to.

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  9. Here is a comparison of Randolph’s bone with that from a Brachyceratops which lived in Montana during the late Cretaceous Period. For more on this go to

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brachyceratops

    bone 1

    The Dino pics (above) are from the Wikipedia site linked above which show bigger pics.

    The link below shows various dinos who lived in the Montana area:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Two_Medicine_Formation#Egg_Mountain_site

    I’m fairly certain Randolph has a dinosaur bone. We just need to determine from what species it originated with.

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  10. how cool is that, thanks Barb, i magnified the rear foot and it looks like it could be the top end of a metacarpal, too. this is fascinating to say the least

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    • I think so and if it is not from this dinosaur I’d say it is certainly from one similar as there were many different types living in the Montana area.

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  11. Right on! Barb concentrated her attention in one direction and got it done! I was trying to find a comparable image to go with my reply above, but this is the problem that I run into, one keyword will grab my attention from one thing and send me chasing after another thing. That and too many interruptions around here. lol

    It’s kind of like when we all started surfing around on the internet for the first time. Pull up a page, start reading, and say “Wait…What’s that???” and hit the link. 3 hours later and 30 sites later it felt like only 30 minutes. I still have a problem with doing this. Especially History! lol

    Great work Barb!

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    • Yes, great work Barb and everyone. Getting some kind of perspective on Randolph’s bone was truly a team effort and although we are not exactly sure which dinosaur it came from we do know it is a dinosaur bone. I can hardly wait until we stumble on the next mystery as all of you here have been a great asset and will continue to be so. GREAT JOB EVERYONE!

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      • And thanks to Randolf for sharing his Bone with us! This folks…is what you call “Bone Fever”. Historians like us go bonkers over fossilized Bones. We just got to know more… lol

        Bones are one of the few material samples we have to learn from when it comes to pre-history, Bones, Rocks and Charcoal.

        Thanks Randolf! Folks like us are sitting around just waiting for someone to utter those words… “I found a Bone”. 🙂

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          • Perspective sure can change things can’t it? lol

            Oh man…once the humor in the title hit me I just could not shake it, every time I worded something I had to stop and regroup.

            I kept thinking how is the general public reading Roberto’s site and this thread going to construe or perceive this wording? lol

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  12. Well, close enough counts for me. it supports my belief that evolution is as real as the flesh and bone in my entire body. the fact that i have a fragment of some life form from a bygone era is extremely humbling and that mother nature is as magnificent and majestic as anything we could conjure from out of our own imagination. also that if i were still attending Ursuline Academy taught by Ursuline nuns, i would fail theology, but they would have to give me an F+ for failing exceptionally well!

    back to my original question, what do i do with it and the fossilized snail. we have no kids and 1/2 of our nephews and nieces are Mormon and believe in creation, the other half are to busy friending on facebook and checking likes on latest selfies. to all of them these remnants are just a couple of rocks. i’m serious, sad but true.

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    • I just replied about the same time below Randolf. 🙂 Here’s my thoughts, If you could identify it with a little help it would make a huge difference in what it might be worth or how significant it truly is. In our family Rocks are passed down because they are something from our ancestors that were collected during a bygone era before it was illegal to go out and collect Artifacts and Fossils in most areas (BLM).

      Some of them will always be at least something one of your Great Grandchildren can place on their Nick Knack shelf and say “my Great Grandfather gave me that!”. We have so many rocks (artifacts and fossils) that have been passed down that we recently loaned an extensive Artifact collection to one of the local tribes for display in a museum that they built special just to preserve them correctly. 🙂

      But here’s something too… It may always turn out to be from a previously unknown species. This actually happens now and then and if it is the value would be pretty significant! It really may be worth your time to have someone look at it Randolf!

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    • I am so sorry… I should have said “Our Great Grandchildren” not “Your Great Grandchildren” in that reply Randolf. I am a bit “Minddled” this morning.

      But seriously, I would go have it looked at! Be nice to know for sure if it is worth anything or not!

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    • After more though… there might be two options for you once it has been identified and appraised.

      A donation to a Museum or a University is tax deductible if you might need this. And there is a big market for “sample” minerals and fossils around the globe. Universities buy up Samples for their different depts. like crazy. They buy them for their Geology and Paleontology Depts. This market is more lucrative for geologists and Rock hounds than it is to hunt for gold.

      There are quite a few websites selling these sample rocks and fossils you could post it on once you have identified it Randolf.

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  13. Barb is right about Randolf’s location. Being so close to a Fossil bed area it can be assumed that Fossil hunting may have been a popular local past time for many years. There are probably hundreds of these laying around in backyard “Rock Collections”.

    So in his particular area the bone might not be that rare of a find. but…this also means there are probably hundreds of Paleontologists living in this area because of it’s proximity to Fossil beds.

    So now that we have ruled it out as being human, Randolf is safe to go track down a local Paleontologist and find out exactly what species this came from of he likes! It would also be very cool to verify a specific species! 🙂

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  14. the dino museum in Choteau is a short drive and one i enjoy. that is where i will start unless one of you folks want it. don’t care about money though that would be nice if it was really worth anything but i will be taking a drive first thing this summer when my wife is off for the school year.

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    • I wonder if Roberto and Barb’s school has a Paleontology Dept? Roberto might be able to find out if they have good use for a sample like this? Just a thought. 🙂

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  15. Randolph you are certainly welcome to donate it to our San Pedro Institute if you would like. If you want to do this let me know here and I will get the details to you via email.

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