Sexing the buried

BBC: Experts tell Mr from Mrs dinosaur
Palaeontologists think they have found a way to tell whether dinosaur fossils are from males or females.

When I was at university in the mid-80s, I attended an archaeology class in which we got to play around with the bones of dead Anglo-Saxons. The honorary lecturer (a surgeon who dabbled in archaeological bones for a hobby) handed me a skull and asked me if I could tell him anything about it:

"It's definitely human."
"Very funny. Anything else?"
"It's definitely dead."
"Come on now, be serious. Can you tell me anything about this skull?"
"Erm… It's female."
"Excellent! That's amazing! Sexing a human skull is surprisingly difficult. What makes you say it's female?"
"Its mouth is open."

I was then lynched by a couple of feminist archaeology undergraduates wearing dungarees who had absolutely no sense of humour.

Actually, despite my titting about, it was a really cool class: we got to mess around with lepers' bones, and re-assemble a fox's skeleton with its head on the wrong end.

Filed under: Nonsense

Richard Carter

A fat, bearded chap with a Charles Darwin fixation.


  1. An animal with its head where its arse should be? Sounds like you located one of your ancestors!

  2. Feargal, is that really you?
    With comments like that, you deserve a good teenage kicking!

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