Conjoined first (atlas) and second (axis) cervical vertebrae in an eastern wapiti (Cervus canadensis canadensis) from the Angel Site (1000-1400 CE, Indiana, USA)

Amanda Burtt, Della Collins Cook

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Abstract

Atlantoaxial abnormalities are rarely documented among wild animals. Many defects of segmentation in the spine are hereditary in domestic species and humans. Here, we present a block vertebra in an eastern wapiti (Cervus canadensis canadensis) from the Angel Site (12Vg1) in southern Indiana (USA) dating to 1000–1400 CE. Diagnosis used macroscopic and radiographic examination. Evidence of inflammatory response and eburnation point to functional compromise. Recorded pathologies of this nature are underrepresented in the past and present. We suggest this specimen from an adult wapiti species represents a female as this condition would have been more debilitating in an antlered stag limiting the possibility of living well into adulthood.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages6
JournalINTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF OSTEOARCHAEOLOGY
Volume34
Issue number1
Early online date11 Dec 2023
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 19 Feb 2024

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