Great Ape Collar Bone

Whilst examining the fascinating and varied animal osteological collection at Leeds Museum Discovery Centre, I came across a rather unusual clavicle or collar bone. The bone was from a Great Ape, probably either a chimp or a gorilla and whilst this bone is nothing unusual, it caught my eye due to the pathologies present.

The clavicle had been broken and may have not been set causing an infection in the bone. It is even possible that this active infection killed the ape and caused it to be part of the collection!
To me this is one of the most interesting remains because it allows us a short glimpse into the life of this animal and how inadequate medical attention possibly caused its untimely death. What caused the break, I’m not entirely sure, but it could be a fall which can cause this type of fracture in humans.

Object Number: LEEDM.C.2010.925

By Sam Carter (intern with the natural science department, Summer 2010)

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