Bird bone orientation terms

Understanding how a bone is oriented in the body is one of the first steps in learning how to describe the anatomy of that bone. Students in 199.330 Ornithology at Massey University undertake an exercise in describing bones in their first practical laboratory class.


The 3D model shown here was assembled with labels to help students identify and name the surfaces of major bones. Zoom in to see the surface labels. Double click on a bone to centre the view on that bone. 


These labelled bones represent a partial skeleton of the Great Auk in swimming position from the collections of Canterbury Museum. CM Av19489 (Canterbury Museum Sketchfab page).

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Orientation terms for bird bones. For further information see Baumel JJ and Witmer LM. 1993. Osteologia pp 45-132 In Baumel JJ (Ed.) Handbook of Avian Anatomy: Nomina Anatomica Avium, 2nd ed. Cambridge, MA: Nuttal Ornithological Club.