Tuesday, January 17, 2012


I am teaching anatomy this month. I have a skeleton hanging in my classroom. It is a real skeleton, a young female, probably around 23 years old, around 5 feet tall. She is lovely.

She comes complete with a closet. Yup, I have a skeleton, in a closet.

Don't we all.

It is interesting looking at and talking about the skeleton with the class. We count the ribs, talk about the spinal column, touch the scapula, rotate the tibia, examine the feet and hands.

We wonder what she would have looked like. Was she thin, or fat? Were her cheek bones high, or flat? What did her nose look like?

We look at her objectively. There is no judgement looking at those bones. If she happens to be missing a tooth (which she is), it is noted, but no connection to whether that makes her beautiful or not.

We are reverent towards her. She has given us a gift, to allow us to look at her very bones. She is perfect, and we have named her Robin.

Looking at her skeleton makes us appreciate ours. It helps us to understand why we would want to care for it. It gives us some idea of how to care for it. Why good posture, strong bones, good shoes would be important.

And under our skin, and fat, and muscles we are all pretty similar. Our skeleton doesn't need to be photoshopped. Actually when you buy a skeleton for an anatomy class you can buy ones that are 'perfect', ie, no abnormalities, or you can buy ones that have healed fractures, or missing ribs. The ones that aren't 'perfect' are actually more interesting to the student of anatomy. The ones that aren't 'perfect' have more to teach us it seems. I think there is a lesson there somewhere.

The symmetry of our bones is fascinating. The perfect design it seems. I am more understanding of my fused spine from an old back fracture, then I am of my scar from surgery that occurred around the same age.

Because the scar everyone can see when I go to the beach. The healed fracture is a secret that only my skeleton shows. My skeleton, in the closet.

1 comment:

  1. I fractured my ankle about 15 years ago. I have 4 screws and a metal plate. That would be an interesting skeleton to look at.


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