Description: Fish hyperostotic bone, or "Tilly bone". These are bones that have undergone abnormal growth and are actually fairly common, especially in Florida. There are some interesting photos at the Australian Museum Fish site.See the references for further information. Scale is in centimeters. I have a photo of one in a fish I caught and cleaned. The swollen spine is in the top center of the picture. "Tilly bones" are named after Dr. Johanna Gabrielle Ottelie ("Tilly") Edinger, a
Harvard paleontologist who held a long interest in them. Dr. Edinger was also the first woman president of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology. They are thought to be
pathological in origin, perhaps due to environmental factors, though some, like those in jacks, seem to be part of the aging process. Tilly bones have only been reported in saltwater fish.
Age: Miocene Epoch to Pleistocene
Location Found: United States, Florida, Leisey Shell Pit, near Ruskin, FL
Found by: Ed DeRouin
Identified by: Frank Garcia
References: Vertebrate Fossils: A Neophyte's Guide, p.14; Paleopathological Fish Bones from Phosphorites if the Lake Manyara Area, Northern Tanzania - Fossil Evidence of a Physiological Response to Survival in an Extreme Biocenosis, Shluter & Kohring, 2001; A.Konnerth 1966, "Tilly bones", Oceanus 12, 6-9; Smith-Vaniz, W.F., L. S. Kaufman, and J. Glowacki,1995. Species-specific patterns of hyperostosis in marine teleost fishes. Marine Biology 191: 573-580; Tiffany, W.J., R. E. Pelham, and F. W. Howell, 1980. Hyperostosis in Florida fossil fishes. Florida Scientist 43: 44-49