Tibial Pursuit: How to identify and side the tibia

Trials and Tib-ulations. Shin Vogue. Ti-bia Determined. Tibia or not Tibia*. I have so many tibial puns on file that it was hard to pick just one for the title of this post.

And if you’re wondering, yes, you are correct, I am much sought after here at Michigan as a conversational partner and social companion due to my witty repartee. Just ask any of my friends. They definitely won’t turn away from you awkwardly with a facial expression that is equal parts exasperation and embarassment. Nope, definitely not.

Indeed, indeed it is.

Anyhow, I’m about to set off on a nearly two week odyssey through the Midwest that involves visiting friends and eating copious amounts of cheese before I eventually wind up at the AAPAs in St. Louis (which is the kind of thing you can do when you are writing up, because you can avoid working on your dissertation just about anywhere). However, I figured I would leave you with one last in-depth osteology post before my departure.

The tibia is a larger long bone that preserves fairly well in archaeological contexts because of its size and relative robusticity. However, I’ve found that the the proximal end tends to degrade rather rapidly, especially after the trabecular bone dries out and grows brittle over time. Accordingly, it’s important to be able to identify and side the bone even if you only have a fragment of the proximal or distal end, or if you only have a fragment of the shaft. The best way to do this is by familiarizing yourself with the features of the tibia that will help you to orient it. I’ve provided an introduction to some of the basic features of the tibia below, and also included a printable pdf (with blank drawings that you can jot down your own siding and feature notes on) at the end of the post.

Anterior Tibia Tibial_Pursuit_1Proximal Tibia Distal Tibia PDF available here: Bone Broke Guide to Identifying and Siding the Tibia

Alright. Shin conclusion, I’m really glad it’s Friday, and I hope that you are too!

(Couldn’t resist getting one last pun in. Ti-bia honest, I know these are terrible, but I really don’t care).

*Final pun courtesy of Katherine Kinkopf, up-and-coming osteological pun wunderkind. Second-to-last pun courtesty of someone who commented on the bio anthro Facebook group whose name I have forgotten.

Image Credits: Hawkward pun found here.

Image Credits for PDF: Sewing needle found here. Wave crest photo found here. Steps figure found here. Isolines figure found here.

This entry was posted in Long Bones, Osteology and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Tibial Pursuit: How to identify and side the tibia

  1. Pingback: Bone Broke Year in Review 2015 | Bone Broke

  2. Olivia Kinsman says:

    These are SO useful!! I find the shafts the worst part to side and orientate.



    • JB says:

      Olivia – just remember the difference between the medial and lateral curvature of the shaft, the directionality of the soleal line, and the orientation of the nutrient foramen and you’ll be all set!


  3. Pingback: Osteology Everywhere: Winter Garten Edition | Bone Broke

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