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Mississippi Valley Archaeology Center

Turtle Bones

March 9, 2016

Turtle bonesTurtle bonesArchaeologists identify animal bones by examining the bones’ sizes, shapes, and textures and comparing them to modern specimens. Sometimes the differences are subtle. The turtle bone fragments pictured here are distinctive, and unusual. Turtle bones have distinctive rounded shapes. The archaeological bone fragments (left) are a femur (left) and a pubis (right), also from a turtle (species unidentified). These two comparative samples (right) are a right humerus (top) and a left femur (bottom) from an eastern spiny softshell turtle (Apalone spinifera). (La Crosse County, Wisconsin)