More Mammals with Venom

by John Wible

The duck-billed platypus, Ornithorhynchus anatinus, is no doubt one of the world’s oddest mammals, with a suite of adaptations to its life in streams in eastern Australia and Tasmania. Its suede-like bill is packed with electro- and mechanoreceptors, which help the platypus find small invertebrates and fish in murky waters. It has webbed forefeet and hind feet and a hairy, beaver-shaped tail, all great for swimming and diving, and a lush, thick coat for insulation on cold mornings.

As with other mammals, the female platypus produces milk to nurture its young. However, its young are hatched from leathery eggs! Along with the echidna or spiny anteater from Australia and New Guinea, the platypus is one of the two types of living monotremes or egg-laying mammals. This is in contrast to the other groups of extant mammals, marsupials, and placentals, which have live births.

Along with egg-laying, the skeleton of the platypus is a throwback to its mammal-like reptile origin. The bones in its arms and legs, the humerus and femur, are set perpendicular to the trunk, giving the platypus a sprawling posture and a waddling gait on land. Marsupials and placentals have more upright postures with less waddling.

But where is the venom? If you look closely at the ankle of the male platypus, you will see a deadly looking weapon made of keratin, just like your fingernails. This tarsal spur sticks out from the body and sits on a small, flat bone—the os calcaris. The spur is hollow and connected to a gland below the knee that produces venom during the platypus breeding season. Because of this seasonal activity, the venom is thought to be used in male-male competition for females. 

For humans that make the mistake of picking up male platypuses at the wrong time of year, the venom is not deadly, but it is excruciatingly painful. One unfortunate soldier said it is worse than shrapnel! A small remnant of the spur is retained in juvenile female platypuses for only a few months after hatching, and the supporting bone, the os calcaris, without a spur occurs in the echidna. In recent years, tarsal spurs and support bones have been found in the fossil record for numerous groups of extinct primitive mammals that lived during the Age of Dinosaurs. Rather than being unique to the male platypus, venom manufactured in the leg may have been a widespread component of early mammalian weaponry for survival in the hostile Mesozoic landscape. Why this apparatus was lost in early marsupials and placentals is a mystery. One group, the bats, have reinvented a tarsal spur, where it is used in support of the wing membrane.

John Wible, PhD, is the curator of the Section of Mammals at Carnegie Museum of Natural History. John’s research is focused on the tree of life of mammals, understanding the evolutionary relationships between living and extinct taxa, and how the mammalian fauna on Earth got to be the way it is today. He uses his expertise on the anatomy of living mammals to reconstruct the lifeways of extinct mammals. John lives with his wife and two sons in a house full of cats and rabbits in Ross Township.


Mauritanian Toad Sclerophrys mauritanica


It can reach 13 to 15 cm. Beige background color to green olive, with defined orange spots, brown, red or dark green, bordered black coloration. The belly is white, flecked with gray spots. There fully red or completely gray copies. They have a clear tarsal fold. The parotid glands are ariñonadas and large and more or less parallel.The eardrum is considerable and marked, and the interorbital area is concave. The iris is golden. The distal tip subarticular tuber IV doubles (Salvador, 1996).

source- David Herrero ;Amphibians & Reptiles of Morocco and Western Sahara.

anonymous asked:

Oh man! *fans face* Do you think we can get some Red and Stretch with that X-ray positioning imagine?

(*The fact that you enjoyed the x-ray imagine makes me happy.)


“if ya want to try a few new positions, just say so, sweetheart.”

He’s smirking while lying face-down on your bed, propping himself up on an arm to wag his bone brows suggestively.  You have one of his ankles in your hand so you can bend his knee and visualize just how much of a bend it would take to get a clear view of his kneecap on the film.  

“I figured you’d rather have me on my stomach,” you shoot back, and he chuckles.  Before he can respond, however, you start to feel his patella, trying to figure out if it’s straight, and he makes a sound half between a snort and a laugh.  You pause, staring at him… and then wiggle his kneecap again.  He buries his face in your mattress to hide the sound and then rolls onto his side, dragging his leg from your grasp.  

“Are you.. ticklish?”

“nope.  enough of that,” he hurriedly answers, reaching out to grab your arm.  In the next moment, he has you pinned facedown on your mattress, only he moves to straddle your hips.  His phalanges grip your hips.  "it’s my turn to position you now.  and ya already know my favorite, doll~.“


Stretch is really chill through the entire positioning thing.  He’s laid back on the couch, his feet propped in your lap with his socks and shoes off.  You’re turning his foot this way and that, trying to remember all of the tarsal bones for your next anatomy test.  To him, it feels more like he’s getting a massage.

“…that’s the talus,” he comments after you’ve spent a while making cute little thinking sounds in the back of your throat and touching one of the bones.  

“Crap, I should’ve known that,” you sigh, mentally moving on to the next ones.  Your gaze flickers up toward him.  “Do all skeletons really know the name of every bone?”

He shrugs.  “nah.  doubt my bro would.  biology was just somethin’ i had to know.”

You suppose it has to do with his background, but you don’t push him; he doesn’t like to talk about his time working in the Lab.  “Makes sense,” you murmur instead, while turning back to his foot and moving it around in your hand, studying the bony articulations.  After a few more moments, Papyrus reaches over and places his hand over yours.  

“wouldn’t you rather take a break and study my hands for a while?”

You glance from him to the carpal bones in his wrist.  You’ve got them down-pat, thanks to a mnemonic.  “How would that be taking a break?”

He tugs you by your arm, bringing you toward him until you’re sprawled across his chest.  He wiggles his fingers in front of your face and then tugs on the waistband of your pants. “because you’d be studying what they can do,” he murmurs, directly by your ear.


Base of skull fractures can produce the clinical signs seen in my caretoon:

  1. ‘Raccoon eyes’ AKA periorbital bruising
    This is bruising around the eyes, sometimes seen with tarsal plate sparing; this is where the bruising doesn’t cover the upper eyelid, which contains the ‘tarsal plate’, a small area of connective tissue which helps stop the eyelid inverting when opening and closing the eye.
  2. Blood or CSF rhinorrhoea (nose leakage) and otorrhoea (ear leakage)
    These fluids may leak from the nose or ear. CSF is cerebrospinal fluid; the clear fluid which surrounds the brain and spinal cord.
  3. Haemotympanum
    This is blood seen behind the eardrum (AKA tympanic membrane) when using an otoscope, the tool a doctor uses to look inside the ear canal.
  4. ‘Battle sign’ AKA postauricular bruising
    Bruising may appear behind the ear.

These clinical signs occur in base of skull fractures, when the cracked bone, or trauma that caused it, results in damage to the blood vessels or/and brains covering, allowing leakage of their contents into these areas of the head and neck.

They make up a classic set of signs emergency doctors will look for when assessing patients who have had a head injury. They can be a marker of how severe the trauma has been, and alert medics to consider further imaging (scans) to go looking for further damage or compromise to structures within the skull.

These signs are important ‘free information’ to pick up if you have a sharp eye!

Share, and follow artibiotics to keep up with my medical articles as they drop!

@morbidesque So here’s the paw thing! I hope this makes sense, if not please lemme know. I’m kinda bad at explaining things.

I don’t have any step by steps or anything for the carpals/tarsals but these are the best reference pictures I’ve got. This one is for the front foot, and here’s a back foot.

As far as toes go, I just pair out each toe with one another, so they end up in their little pairs and you only have to arrange one front foot and one back foot. I label the pairs A-Z for ease, or with numbers, whatever works.

You just kind of have to???? feel the toes and see if they fit comfortably. You might make some mistakes, but that’s okay. You’ll know when a toe is where it’s supposed to be, but that might mean you shuffle them around a few times before you do that.

I wish toes were easier, since I would definitely write up a guide, but it’s just kinda all about futzing around with them to see where they fit.

I hope this helps, but if you have any more questions please feel free to pm me! I’ll see if I can help anymore beyond that.

anonymous asked:

Who's your favorite background/minor SH character?

god they’re all so incredible. a list of faves includes

  • terry tarsal, who is 10000% done with everyone’s bs
  • maize smalls, who takes her job of lighting a billion candles like, every night, very seriously and also has an evil cat named binksy
  • ma custard, who had to put up with merrin for months on end and somehow didn’t snap, too good for this world
  • maureen, who runs away with the cute potato peeler boy and is able to start up a thriving pie shop in the super skeevy port. also loves simon and lucy and will do whatever she can to help them, 10/10
  • sir hereward, who actually plays a pretty important role to several plots, tells the same bad jokes all the time and tries to kill people with his Ghost Sword™
  • hugo, who grows up to be an alchemist because septimus was the first person who bothered to spend time with him as a kiddo
  • demelza heap, who we never even SEE, but just hear about from marcellus, who said she was a good friend and a great wizard who got lost in the house of foryx and emerged 200 years later, and was shocked when marcellus believed her story before he revealed who he was. ancient heap, friends with marcellus, displaced in time, cool as hell
  • gringe’s bridge boy, who is pretty dumb and honestly just Trying His Best, epitome of “didn’t sign up for this”
  • matt and marcus marwick, emo twins who didn’t realize they were actually triplets, chill as hell, their boss thinks they switch places on him but they honestly couldn’t care less, ex-young army soldiers
  • betty crackle, the keeper of the marram marshes before zelda, sarah’s grandmother, almost definitely fed a boy to an octopus when on her apprentice test
  • every person who works at jannit maarten’s, even if they’re not minor. jannit maarten’s is ridiculous and i love everyone there
The Doctor Will See You Now (Baekhyun x Reader) (Part 1)

yaay request are open! hello ^-^ can i request a baekhyun scenario with this prompt that i just saw in my dash: “you’re my clumsy roommate and I’m a med student and am constantly patching you up under the guise of ‘gaining experience’ but I just really like taking care of you/touching you”

Genre: Fluff

Word Count: 4066

Saying you were a little clumsy was an understatement. Luckily, Baekhyun was always there to treat even the smallest of injuries.

Originally posted by ohhsenshine

Keep reading

Bum's Broken Bones

Sorry, I’m taking a bit of time to respond to questions because I want to address them all properly. ^^“

But outside of that I would like to discuss something I’ve been pondering.

In chapter 2, we saw Sangwoo break Bum’s legs with a sledgehammer. Based upon where the bruises, bandages, and swelling was at I’d say he broke/fractured Bum’s tibia/fibula bones and maybe some of the tarsal bones in his ankles. It takes a healthy person to heal from a tibia/fibula fracture around 6 weeks, Bum not having the best medical care, normal sleeping habits, adequate diet, and environmental setting will probably take him few weeks longer.
My main concern isn’t that however, it’s the fact that he’s not receiving proper medical care for his broken bones. Most people have to put braces on (or at least a splint) to make sure the broken bones stay aligned and heal properly. All Bum has is bandages and pain meds. If his bones get misaligned during the healing process (with all the moving and cleaning Sangwoo made him do I wouldn’t doubt it if it had) and stay that way, it can really impair mobility not to mention deform how Bum’s legs look. Bum will probably have to keep using crutches until a doctor can re-break or Sangwoo re-breaks them for Bum and they try to figure out a way to align it themselves.

Or Koogi could take this part of the story in more fictitious way, and by god’s miracle Bum doesn’t misalign his broken bones despite how much Sangwoo slung him around and heals properly and can walk just fine. :’) Idk maybe I’m getting too deep lol, I think about health stuff a lot because I was a nursing major in the past sorry.

Edit: Just read a tibia fracture can actually take longer, up to 4-6 months. The fibula is what can take up to 4-6 weeks.

2nd Edit: My bad Bum’s left leg only got the sledgehammer, his right broke on the fall down the stairs.

thecomicsnixlegacy  asked:

Just why didn't dinosaurs develop poison? The more I look at non-therian mammals, the more I see multiple types of oral venom and tarsal spurs.

There’s a distinction between being poisonous and being venomous. A few poisonous dinosaurs are known. Several passerines, the spur-winged goose, the common quail, and possibly the extinct Carolina parakeet sequester toxins from their diet into their flesh and, in some cases, their feathers.

On the other hand, there is no convincing evidence of any venomous dinosaurs, but I’m not certain what you mean by venom being rampant among non-therian mammals. All of the mammals with venomous bites that I can think of (solenodons, some shrews, and arguably slow lorises and vampire bats) are therians. As for venomous ankle spurs, even Hurum et al. (2006), the original paper suggesting that mammals could have been ancestrally venomous, did not find any evidence of a venom-delivery system in the spurs of the Mesozoic mammals that they examined.

So even if we accept the notion that mammals were ancestrally venomous, that’s a grand total of one known origin of venom in non-therian mammals, which was subsequently lost at least once and maybe several times to boot. That’s only barely more than known examples of venomous dinosaurs, and less than the number of times dinosaurs have been known to evolve toxicity in general. (Things even out more if we do include toxic therian mammals, and they would certainly outstrip dinosaurs in the venom department, but even then I would hardly consider toxicity to be common among mammals.)

With that said, the apparent absence of venomous dinosaurs is certainly a phenomenon worth investigating. My disappointing answer to that problem is that no one really knows. It’s not something that has been discussed at length in the literature to my knowledge, but considering that many of the putative explanations would be difficult to test, it’s not hard to understand why. It could be anything from the right mutations never showing up in dinosaurs to some form of physiological or ecological constraint.

I’ve heard it claimed that it is more difficult for large endothermic predators to evolve venom than for ectothermic predators. However, I have never seen this claim empirically tested. In any case, even if the postulate were true, it wouldn’t explain why we haven’t found defensive or intraspecific-targeted venom in any dinosaurs.

Regardless of the exact reason why venom appears to be rare (if not absent) among dinosaurs, it is perhaps not surprising that we haven’t identified any toxic Mesozoic dinosaurs to date. Only a handful of living archosaurs out of over 10,000 species have been confirmed to possess any type of toxicity, so if hypothetically toxic Mesozoic dinosaurs existed at similar levels of diversity, our chances of finding their remains would likely be very low. On top of that, if they were poisonous rather than venomous like modern toxic dinosaurs, the chances that we could figure out that they were toxic to begin with would be even lower (given that being poisonous is less likely to come with osteological correlates).

anonymous asked:

could you write a really magical piece about adam, eve, god, the serpent, angels, the garden, etc. your writing is so captivating! I love it when you tell stories about these kinds of things.

(remember, you asked for angels, not me.)



Michael remembers the taste of earthdust before life walked upon it. He was a young angel then, the first of his kind, all lion cub’s teeth and laughter and uncalloused soles (his siblings were still blooming nebulae up in high high reaches of Heaven, their wing-bones forming one burning particle at a time). His Father had taken his hand and said, Come see what I’ve made! and so, grinning, they crouched together at the rim of the sky to peer down into the land. The greenness of it struck him the most, how it was so sharp and warm and overflowing with meadows, orchards, grassy spaces waiting to be filled.

His Father admitted, I’m not sure if it’s ready yet, so Michael reached down, gathered a tiny handful of dirt and pressed it to his lips. It tasted like sunlight, blood, and hope. I think they will love it, he replies, watching the winds chase each other and the rivers wander beneath them.


God made the hands first. Men were molded in likeness, and so what better place to begin than in likeness of what does the molding? He worked carefully the whole way through, took His time on the carpals and tarsals, on the ventricles and bronchi. But after many many hours, He stepped back, and lo and behold, Michael watched Adam stumble into clay-damp life much the same as the creatures he would one day name foal. Michael, peering over the rim and thinking of Gabriel, who had waddled out of the amniotic starsac that morning with white eyes and dripping wings, whispered, Shall he have companions too? And God smiled, Of course.

So there was Eve. Born right from Adam’s hungry ribs, born with a hundred songs in her mouth, and all of them beautiful. Michael watched them live together, holding races by the apple trees, weaving the blossoms into each other’s hair, climbing up the branches without scraping their knees, leaving the One Tree untouched, as they should. Every time they named a plant or an animal they would each kiss it— Here is the sparrow, they declared in unison, Adam pressed his lips to the warm soft bird, then handed it to Eve, who kissed it too, so as they curled up beside each other under the sunset, Adam would compose poems about the stars and Eve and the sparrow would sing them back. The whole earth trembled with their melodies, and it was peaceful, so peaceful. Michael hoped it would never end.


Michael didn’t mean to be curious, but he was anyway. Why don’t they have wings? You didn’t give them to Adam, sure, but you could’ve given them to Eve?

They’re so small, my child. They’re a million times smaller than you. Let them be grounded for a while. If they ask for wings, I shall give some to them.

But you didn’t give them clothes either? (And Michael looked down at himself, tunic of spun gold, leather sandals, bracelet made of leftover space dust that young Gabriel wove for him in between trumpet practices.)

His Father’s voice was gentle. Let them be, for as long as they can.


Time passed in its slurring, tender way. Michael taught Gabriel how to play tag, and so they would chase each other and the newest angel, Raphael, across the sweeping galaxies, laughing all the while. Then once, as they sat winded with their backs resting against Andromeda, Gabriel thought to ask, Where does Father go sometimes?

Michael didn’t want to show them, at first. Not that it was shameful, this wild sprawling earthplace of their Father, but just that it had been his, his and his Father’s alone, for such a long time.

Yet, His Father told him, You are their eldest brother, so I want you to show them the land, in the wonderful way that only a brother can. So he would, even if it felt a little like giving something secret away. He took them both by the hand and led them to the rim under which the land resided, and grinning together, they all leaned in to look.

Adam was gathering marigolds by the river, perhaps to weave into a circlet for Eve. Eve was sleeping in the shade of a tall tree, curled up into a ball.

Raphael, his voice still warbling, Who are they? They look like fragile little stars. Michael, then, in his best eldest brother voice, They are Eve and Adam, firstborn of a new kind of creature called human. Gabriel, his voice almost-but-not-yet-turned to its natural cadence of thunder, Do you think they shall be able to speak with us one day? Michael, then, sincerely, I wish it could be so.

In a shiver of cloud and fire, Their Father appeared behind them, saying, Michael, I want you to take your brothers back into the Realms for choir practice. I would love nothing more than to hear the three of you create new hymns.

(Before they left, Michael made sure to point out to his brothers the majesty of the lions where they wrestled in the plains.)


When it happened, Michael was teaching his brothers how to make harmonies. They were sitting in a field of light, bare-footed, cloud-warmed, and singing so loud that Uriel, the newest angel, a fetal almost-globe of gas, was shimmering inside the belly of his star, as if he could hear them.

So Michael didn’t see the Untouched Tree full of wet, red fruit, or how Eve, in her waking wanderings, stumbled too close to the trunk. He didn’t hear the voice that called from the branches, or the whispering wind that tried to push her away. He didn’t see the serpent, with its writhing black body, or Eve, with marigold blooms in her hair and apple juice ran down her chin.

But later, while lying in his bed of a molten, still-forming universe, he did hear his Father, who gave a soft, shaky cry that made every star in every dimension shudder with pain.


So you knew it would happen? Michael was weeping in between sentences. His whole body was a mass of fire now, the clothes and human-semblance traded for something more like white dwarf, all heaviness and condensed light and readiness to combust. You knew it would happen and you made them anyway?

I gave them free will, I cannot predict everything, I had hoped— But God was weeping now too.

They stood together, in a corner of the Heavens on their own, talking in hushed voices so that Gabriel and Raphael, who didn’t know yet, wouldn’t hear them.

Michael felt near incapable of breathing, like a great, muddy weight was filling up his chest. He thought of Eve and Adam, clothed in waxy fig leaves, weeping too somewhere, no doubt. Eve and Adam, how they gobbled down knowledge and got no reward. Father, what will happen to them now?

God had managed to stop crying. He wiped His eyes with the backs of His hands and took a moment to think. They must live and die with their choices. I don’t turn back time, I only guide it forward.

He looked into God’s red-rimmed eyes. Father, what will we do now?

We must live, for as long as we can.


Michael holds the flaming swords and they do not burn his skin. He is the eldest, so it is his duty. Before he left the Realm that morning, he kissed a worried Gabriel on the forehead— It cannot all be sin, I know we shall give them miracles again someday— and made sure to remind Raphael to watch out for Uriel, who was learning now how to spread his wings and bite down on gravity with his lion’s maw when the teeth ached too much. He met his Father at the rim of the sky, Father handed him the swords, and now he is here, in this garden that reeks of pollen and heartache, guarding the gates to Eden in a form given to him that is small enough to stand beside the wrought-iron.

Behind him, Michael can hear the birds still singing, but he doesn’t listen, only watches the sinners stumble raggedly into the desert, their arms around each other, sand swirling by their dirty feet.

He crouches down, gathers a tiny handful of earth and presses it to his lips. It tastes like blood.

anonymous asked:

how are you disabled? just wondering sry if its a weird question

Like the technical term for it is middle facet tarsal coalition. That’s just a fancy way of saying I only have the up and down motion in both of my ankles. Normally, the doctors can perform surgery to help it but it’s impossible to do that for me. I can’t run, walk on uneven ground, jump, walk far distances, etc. I wear ankle braces every day to help not sprain my ankles when I do walk but I’m pretty much in constant pain from it. Feel free to message me if you have any more questions ✌️

Beneficial Teaching Methods

Fic Request: a Stydia fic, with an established relationship? Stiles or Lydia having to study for an anatomy test, and the other becomes their model, as they memorized the bones of the human body by giving kisses to each of the bones? (ie, mandible, cervical vertebrae, ribs, ilium…)

Rating: M

Genre: Fluff, Romance, Established Relationship

Author: holdyourbreathuntilyouseelight

Keep reading

O+n the Care and Feeding o+f Wigglers (Porrim & Kankri)(2/?)

OR: Porrim Maryam’s Field Guide to Dealing with the Blood-sucking Parasites in Your Life

I’m experimenting with just posting this in tiny unedited chunks as I go along, so.


Rule No+. 2: Wear appro+priate clo+thes and co+lo+rs

It takes some time to pry the wiggler’s round, sucking mouth loose from your ankle and you absolutely do not dwell on how disturbing the experience is or the need to get it off off off ICK AGH it is sucking your blood RIGHT NOW.  After all, it would take hours and hours before you weakened so much from blood loss that you could no longer remove it.

Fortunately, the grub’s teeth seem to be rather short and blunt.  In the short time it’s been on you (trying to eat you aaaaah), it has hardly done more than raise a ring of jade green bruises, small droplets of blood beading on your skin where the fangs worked their way deepest.  You suppose it would have gnawed its way through to a cartilaginous blood tube eventually.  This wiggler seems determined to make up for what it lacks in teeth with sheer bloody-minded tenacity.

Also, it squeaks every time you touch it and that’s really quite disconcerting.
You peel another two tarsal claws free from the strap of your sandal. They immediately become entangled in your skirt.  A red carapaced abdomen, still sleek and flat, curves around the back of your calf, bracing against your efforts as you tug on two more claws.  The wiggler squeaks like an angry tin whistle.  It clings to your ankle and every graspable item in the vicinity with all six legs, unwilling to be separated from its potential host and blood supply.

“I am not your lusus,” you tell the wiggler.  “Find a blood meal somewhere else.”

Big, too bright eyes look up at you, the protective lenses flicking briefly across that expanse of red.  Its attention turns back to your ankle.  The moons aren’t out tonight and in the darkness you are bioluminescing to quite a brilliant white. 

“Appearances not withstanding.” 

You sigh, and wonder again why you put yourself in these situations.  You also wonder why you are taking all this trouble over a mutant wiggler shortly destined for the culling fork. 

With a grimace, you return to carefully trying to pick its claws free from your hem. Oh well.  It’s only a little more effort.  And you’d hate to get blood on your skirt.

The grub bites you again. 

You can’t really swear to anything that happens in the ensuing few moments, but it is possible you shriek, and possible you fall over flailing, and possible you briefly indulge in a fit of mad flapping and atavistic aversion reactions.  There is a wiggler on your leg and it won’t come off

Eventually, you have satisfied your baser instincts and you are sufficiently calm to re-approach the problem with your full thinkpan engaged.  You believe it is time to stop working at cross-purposes with the wiggler’s natural instincts to grasp and cling.  Methodically, you begin transferring the grub’s entanglement to your skirt, a limb at a time.  When you finish, you still have a blood-sucking parasite slash larval person hugging doggedly to your leg, but it is now on the outside of the fabric.  You will take what compromises you can get.

You attempt a stare down with the small creature hanging from your leg. “You do realize I have other things to do with my night?”

skreeee,” the wiggler says, pricking its anchoring claws through your skirt.

You grimace again and look around for your carry packs, which you may have dropped back in the brush when the wiggler bit you.  You appear to have lost them.

The wiggler starts a determined climb up your person, claw over claw.


Souvenirs (Rivamika Week, Day Six)

Rating: T, not quite M
Length: 1,559 words
Prompt: Varekai - Recuperation from injury
RMW: Day One | Day Two | Day Three | Day Four | Day Five | Day Seven | Day Eight
Summary: Canonverse. After an expedition, they catalog their injuries. Approaching smut, but not quite. Clean smut, I guess.

The latest expedition is a success, in that only a tenth of the Survey Corps comes back broken and bloodied, stacked like firewood on a horse-drawn cart to be shipped back to their parents or, for most of them, burned over an anonymous pyre. As seems to be custom these days, Squad Levi trudges on horseback behind the corpse cart as it rolls through the gates of Karanes. This time, five years after the disastrous 57th Expedition, no one save a few clustered fanatics and vagrants greets them as they wend their way back to base.

The squad has a routine, almost a tradition at this point, that they check one another for injuries upon their return. Even a secretly fractured finger can spell the difference between life and death: two years earlier, a new recruit couldn’t operate his flare gun and the Aberrant Titan that he had spotted killed him and most of his squad. So upon return to the barracks they all strip to their underwear and pair off, running firm hands over bruised limbs, applying ointments and bandages.

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My lifetime’s collection of ‘funny bones’ - I have a box of comparative specimens from animals I’ve cleaned, or been given or traded, showing damage from that animal’s lifetime - breaks, fractures, infections, disease. 

Top: fox tibia - I was traded this and the fibula has either broken and healed onto the bone, or fused on to it. 

Second: deer ribs - these were from a muntjac deer I found and cleaned myself, the rib has been broken, and although it healed up, the break became infected. 

Third: tarsals from a fox I just finished cleaning - the smaller bone has been broken, the break infected, and the bone has not managed to heal, although the injury is fairly old. 

Bottom left: deer radii and ulna - from a roe doe I cleaned up myself, on one leg the end of the radius and ulna bones are fused together, on the other, they are normal. This may be the result of injury or may not, but there are no signs of fracturing, infection or other damage to the bone.