BME’s geek tattoo section is a perennial favorite of visitors who would otherwise not visit a tattoo website, and contains some of the most interesting pieces, among them this sphenoid bone tattoo on my friend Pip:
She got it as a reward to herself after receiving her PhD; Pip writes:
I am a bone geek with two human bone-related degrees. The sphenoid is a fantastic bone, shaped like a butterfly, moth, or alien space bat depending on how you look at it. It is one of those objects that proves that nature can just create the most amazing works of art. I fell in love with the form of the sphenoid when I first saw one and spent a lot of time sketching and doodling sphenoids when I was learning cranial anatomy.
I liked the ambiguity of the shape, during my PhD studies I had come across a lot of art-historical theory about readers and super-readers, the gist being that depending on your level of knowledge, an image can carry different layers of meaning. This was particularly applicable to my chosen tattoo design: to the standard viewer, it would look like a gothic, gargoyle-esque butterfly; to the super-readers (i.e. bone geeks like me) it would be recognizable as a bone. It works too, I tested it out on a few osteology students at college and they recognised it instantly, whereas people at work need to be told what it really is! (Incidentally anatomists/doctors tend to be slightly confused, largely because they don’t understand what possesses someone to get a cranial bone tattooed on their back — or anywhere else for that matter).
Got an interesting tattoo? Email a high-res photo to firstname.lastname@example.org.