My external committee member was a professor in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, and the first time I went to visit him I was delighted with the departmental decor. Geologists know how to outfit a hallway – they had everything from brilliantly colored geological maps of the UK:
to collections of meteorites:
One in particular caught my eye. The chunky meteorite in the center goes by the name of “veined spherulitic chondrite.” According to Wikipedia, these are the most common type of metorite to fall to earth, and they are formed when “various types of dust and small grains that were present in the early solar system accreted to form primitive asteroids.”
Of course I was immediately interested in it because the process on top of it reminded me of the dens, or odontoid process of a human axis. I was excited, and shared the photos with Dr. Zachary Cofran of Lawnchair Anthropology. “You can see it, right?” I asked. “For an osteology everywhere?” “Oh yeah,” he immediately exclaimed, “It’s a hamate!”
It appears this one is something of a Rohrcshach test for osteologists. Or, better yet, one of those tricky illusions that shows two different images at once:
I must admit, I have a history of seeing C2s everywhere I look, so I don’t know that I can necessarily be trusted on this one. Cast your own vote below:
Image Credits: Image of odontoid process by Henry Vandyke Carter, from Wikipedia, here. Image of hamate by Henry Vandyke Carter, via Wikipedia, here. Duck-rabbit from the Independent, here.
I have to agree with Dr Cofran, I saw a hamate rather than a odontoid process!
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