Ovis canadensis

It’s no secret that I love ungulates, especially bovids (I wear a large brass belt buckle of a ram’s head on a daily basis to, you know, “represent”), so it’s no surprise that one of my favorite places in the museum is a small space we affectionately refer to as the “Sheep Room” and houses many of the skulls and horn sheathes belonging to our bighorn sheep (Ovis canadensis) collection.  Dave, myself, and a few anthropology graduate students are working on a paper about “lumpy jaw”, a disease which is caused by the bacteria of the genus Actinomyces and can cause large and incredibly painful dental abscesses in a variety of mammalian species, including bovines (sidenote, if you want to lose your appetite fast or need motivation to go to the dentist, just Google image search Lumpy Jaw and prepare to have empathy pains.)  This paper will be presented at the April Paleopathology Conference in Tennessee, so in preparation for it the other students have been going through the sheep room and recording and organizing data for all of the afflicted specimens in our collection.  

I’ll most likely be posting photographs of these irregular growths in the near future, but in the meantime if you’d like to see more photos of this incredibly crowded storage space visit this post from June and marvel at the amount of large things we can cram in a tiny room!