OsteoMenagerie I: The Navicular

I find that students react to the bewildering variety of bones in the human body with a greater amount of aplomb when you explain things using animal metaphors. I’ve always found some of these visual parallels impossible to unsee after discovering them, so I’m kicking off a series of posts intended to jazz up whole-bone osteology lessons. Fun for the whole family!


Left: Ursus maritimus.                                                              Right: Left navicular, distal view.

Siding Tips: If you have a whole navicular, remember that the head of the polar bear (e.g. the single facet for the first cuneiform) is distal, and will face medially. Alternatively, since we have a navicular in each foot, if you’re looking at someone in Standard Anatomical Position, these tarsal “bears”are going to be facing inwards towards eachother. Or, if you’re equal opportunity when it comes to spotting osteo-fauna, there’s also a head-shaped knob in proximal view (just medial to the facet for the talus), and that’s going to face medially too – see below!

Left: Left Navicular, Proximal View. Right: Ursus maritimus.

Left: Left Navicular, Proximal View.                                           Right: Ursus maritimus.

Original images sources 1 & 2 & 3 & 4.

This entry was posted in Foot, OsteoMenagerie, Siding Tricks, Tarsals and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to OsteoMenagerie I: The Navicular

  1. Pingback: OsteoMenagerie II: The Scaphoid | Bone Broke

  2. Confusing! If I’m hold a navicular in my hand, which side should be facing me to make the ” bear head” face the side it’s on?


  3. JB says:

    Hi Russell!

    – If you hold the navicular so that the more convex side is facing you (the side with the three flattened facets for the cuneiforms), then the bear’s head will face towards the side the bone is from.

    – If you have the more concave side side facing you (the side with the single round articular surface for the talar head), then the bear’s head will face the opposite direction from the side it is from.

    – For easy visual reference, both of the figures of the navicular in this post are from the left side


  4. Pingback: Merely a cuneiformality: Identifying and siding the cuneiforms | Bone Broke

  5. Pingback: Bone Quiz 18 | Bone Broke

  6. Pingback: Anthropology Teaching Tips: Playdoh | Bone Broke

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