Infernal specimens of the AMNH

June 24, 2012

Sometimes you just can’t make this stuff up.

You may recall a story from the Onion Our Dumb Century book, allegedly from 1904, about the skeleton of Satan being discovered in Wyoming. Mike used his occult powers to put together this scan from freely available online sources:

If you scrutinize the above image carefully, you’ll see that ‘Satan’ is an Allosaurus (I’m no theropod booster, but I always thought that was a little harsh on T. rex).

Why am I telling you this? Because last week Mike and I were toiling in the big bone room in the basement of the AMNH when we came across AMNH 666.

It’s an ilium. (Of course it would have to be an appendicular element. Vertebrae are from on high [or dorsal, if you prefer].)

Of Allosaurus!

The stomach-churning color here could be a manifestation of diabolical power, or just what happens when you try to photograph a pink specimen label on a yellow-orange forklift.

After this harrowing encounter, we cleansed our bodies, minds, and souls with street-vendor hot dogs and The Avengers.* That particular mode of exorcism may not be the most effective–I felt distinctly dodgy that evening. But the next day we received illumination at the Altar of Sauropod Awesomeness and were soon back to what we jokingly refer to as normal.

* The best way to see The Avengers is by going up to the observation deck of the Empire State Building shortly beforehand, so big swathes of the Manhattan skyline will still be in your mental RAM during the big final battle. I understand it’s not an option for everyone.

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5 Responses to “Infernal specimens of the AMNH”

  1. Mickey Mortimer Says:

    AMNH 666 does include vertebrae too- a series from the axis to the sacrum. Pickering (1996) proposed it as the holotype of his new species Allosaurus “whitei”. Not only is that a nomen nudum though, Pickering basically intended it as an equivalent of Paul’s “long snouted” A. atrox, which Chure (2000) showed is just normal Allosaurus with the “short-snouted” A. fragilis being due to reconstructing its skull wrong.

    How about other big museum collections? What does BMNH R666 (or is that NHM R666 now?) contain?

  2. Zhen Says:

    Anti-Masturbation and Genital Pouch… You don’t see ads like that on newspapers these days.

  3. James A. Stearns Says:

    Isn’t AMNH 666 the skeleton that’s on display at the museum, gnawing on Apatosaurus caudals?

  4. Mike Taylor Says:

    James A. Stearns asks: “Isn’t AMNH 666 the skeleton that’s on display at the museum, gnawing on Apatosaurus caudals?”

    I don’t think so. According to Wikipedia, that specimen is AMNH 5753.


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