Archive for May, 2012


Invasive animal skulls

May 30, 2012

Another day of animal skulls in our build up to skull appreciation day (week)!

Todays skulls are members of a collection of skulls, taxidermy, bones and bits belonging to a friend of Craniophiles- Steve.  His work in invasive animal species is world renowned (well deserved as it is incredible work) and in his travel allows him to encounter many a skull!

He was kind enough to let us spend the afternoon with his fur-less friends where we took many pictures.  Here are a couple for you!

These skulls (once) belonged to a wild dog and cat.  Both with teeth which can be a rare find in skull scavenging.  The thin ‘scrolly’ bone in their noses (which looks kind of like a Cadbury Flake up close) are the nasal concha or turbinates.  They act as both filters and warmers for the air so that their lungs dont get shocked with cold air or filled with crap.  Humans have them too, you might not have noticed them as they are less obvious… seeing as we don’t have a ‘snout’- they also look less like a chocolate bar and more like a candelabra in humans.

This one is a (kinda blurry, sorry) close up of sutures- in particular the Bregma (point where the coronal and sagittal sutures intersect).  I love this pic, because it shows that the growth of the skull is happening in a much more complex manner than just one direction at once.  Look closely and sutures arent a straight line, particularly in humans they meander along the skull and sometimes even form small islands of bone in the suture (Wormain bones).

and finally…. if anyone thought we could spend an afternoon with skulls and not be totally immature and pretend they were all eating each other… they don’t know us very well!



Morbid curiosities taxidermy- divine skulls for sale!

May 29, 2012

There is nothing we love more at Craniophiles than someone artfully presenting a skull in a way that shows its true beauty.  That is exactly what Kelly Zepha Owen is doing with her rogue taxidermy.  She has an amazing assortment of taxidermy creatures for sale- but our favourites (of course) are the jewellery and head pieces fashioned from skulls.  Available on here are a couple of particularly awesome offerings.

This mink skull has a full set of teeth which definitely add to its charm- in particular a neat set of canines (the big ones at the side)!

This awesome little headpiece is also adorned by a mink skull.  Again we get a great view of the teeth, and have you ever seen a nasal cavity be so cute?  The zygomatic arch (minky cheekbones) look super fragile so if you are lucky enough to get one of these pieces be careful!

These amazing beauties are for sale here.  We LOVE them and wish we could buy them all- but that wouldn’t be fair to all the other Craniophiles out there!


A week of animal skulls- the build up to Skull Appreciation day!

May 27, 2012

In just over a week (depending on your time zone!) we will be celebrating Skull Appreciation day!

Initiated by Noah (from skull-a-day) this day is better than Christmas and a birthday rolled together for Craniophiles!  A day to celebrate all things skull, if you are lucky enough to be in Philly you can join the skull-a-day team and friends for a day of full on skull fun!  Unfortunately for us, Craniophiles are on the wrong continent to get to the Mutter Museum in time… so instead, we are going to make a whole week of the most AWESOME and AMAZING skulls that we can find.  Some new, some old, some familiar, some strange- but all Craniolicious!

In the build up to skull appreciation day we are going to be talking about some animal skulls, so keep your eyes peeled- and if you have any cool animal skulls we would love to see them!


UK and Italy skull travel tips!

May 24, 2012

This post is inspired by (and in answer to) a question we recently received on facebook.  If you havent followed us on there yet you can find us here… and the question thanks to fellow Craniophile Melissa (identity partly protected!)…

Of course we can Melissa!  There is freaking heaps!   Our list is by no means exhaustive, just a taste- so here goes:


1)  Wellcome Collection- Head here to see an engraved human phrenology skull, pictures of skulls, Roman skulls and trepanned skulls…  and it is free!  WIN!

2)  British musuem- Here you can see a crystal skull, skull fossils, pictures of skulls, animal skulls, human skulls, squished skulls- and our buddy down here… our close personal friend Tezcatlipoca, an Aztec God, complete with teeth!  WOO.

3)  Hunterian Museum- You’ll find this one at the Royal College of Surgeons (a cool place in itself).  It is essentially a surgical/medical museum so you will see a variety of historical medical bits and bobs, and of course- plenty of bones and skulls, including this guy who has crossed the boundry between creepy into pure awesome!  He did the reddit rounds not long ago so redditers might recognise him!

4)  Camden Markets- If you are getting sick of museums (surely not possible but just in case) check out the Camden Markets.  You might not find any genuine human skulls, but you will find plenty of cool clothes and accessories adorned with our favourite emblem!


1)  Any of the cemeteries… particularly Greyfriars Kirkyard.  The headstones are all adorned with awesome imagery, from memory the skulls represent something to do with the plague….

2)  National museum Scotland- a general museum but with some really awesome bits and pieces, including (not skull related but very cool) Dolly the sheep.

3)  Ghost Tour- not a place to see but a thing to do, Edinburgh has a heap of really fascinating ghost tours.  They will take you to see all the good skulls on tombs/stones which we mentioned earlier, as well as a few other ghostly and gruesome sights.  There are a few and they are easy to find as they generally have spruikers along the Royal Mile.


1)  Capuchin Crypt- This place is quite literally bursting at the seams with skulls- so much so that the pathway they have for you to walk along and look gets pretty congested, but its worth taking the time to go.  Bones of former monks are lining the walls and often modelled into scenes that give moral lessons.  A reminder of a time when skulls weren’t gross and death was celebrated rather than mourned, this place is a must go.  You got that Melissa?  Not a maybe, a must.

2) Catacombs- Some are not actually in Rome but a little bit out, there are tour buses that will take you there and get you entry to the catacombs as part of the tour.  The underground catacombs are like a maze and in some parts they are downright scary.  Its fascinating to see how small the holes for the bodies are- oh how we have grown!

3) Any of the Basilicas/churches- You will find a lot of imagery of death in most of the Basilicas around Rome, and if you look closely you will find some awesome skull statues/paintings hidden away.  A couple of our favourites are the floor releifs at the Santa Maria della Vittoria- also home to the famous Bernini statue ‘Ecstasy of St Teresa’.

Very sorry if this post is tl;dr but the combination of skulls and travel gets us very VERY excited here at Craniophiles!  If any one has any suggestions for Melissa or any other skull related travel tips or stories please share!


10,000 years of Craniofacial Surgery

May 22, 2012


Da Vinci’s Skulls- is there anything this guy couldn’t do?

May 21, 2012

So apparently they didn’t have motor bikes in the Renaissance, but if they did, we’re pretty sure Da Vinci would have been riding one because he is super cool.

We all know that he was well beyond his time is so many ways, but what you might not know is that his extensive study of bone structure and muscle and their relationship to movement have been credited as the basis of the current scientific field of biomechanics.

Here are a couple of Da Vinci’s skulls:

On the left hand side of this figure the skull has been sectioned on an unusual angle- exposing the maxillary sinus under the eye and the frontal sinus above.

You can also see the frontal sinus in this picture above the nose, and a cross section of the foramen magnum where the spine enters the skull.

Not surprisingly, Da Vinci’s anatomical sketches are as beautiful as any art you can see- and amazing considering they were drawn 500 years ago!

According to the internet (so it must be true!) he was also a procrastinator… makes us feel slightly better about how slow our posts appear sometimes!


Skull with burning cigarette- Vincent Van Gogh

May 18, 2012

We have been showing you quite a bit of modern skull art, but today we thought we might delve back a bit further and dig something up from the past.

Todays skull is “Skull with burning cigarette” by Vincent Van Gogh.

Painted in 1886, it is thought to reflect a bit of Van Gogh’s quirky humour… because cutting off your ear is a real laugh!

From afar the oil painting looks rough (I don’t mean rough but I can’t think of the right word for what I am thinking!) but up close Van Gogh has done what we all love with a skull painting…. Put in some anatomy!

On this guys chin we can see the mental foramen (again with the foramen!) and what looks to be a coronal suture climbing up the side of the head.

If you want to go and visit this painting in person (in canvas?) you can see it in the Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam.