Fun Fact: calcaneus

Anatomy Def: Calcaneus, largest of the foot bones (red arrow), forms the heel.

Outlander Def: Rollos’s grisly munch-brunch!

Learn about the calcaneus in Anatomy Lesson #59, Complete Feet. 

Calcaneus is the largest of 7 irregularly-shaped tarsal bones of the foot skeleton. It forms the heel of foot and in profile resembles a pistol grip. It serves us well by performing the following:

  • provides attachment for the Achilles’ (calcaneal) tendon (via posterior tubercle)
  • one of the most important weight-bearing bones of body
  • provides attachment for foot ligaments and 9 muscles (3 via Achilles’ tendon)
  • provides leverage for tendon of long flexor of great toe (flexor hallucus longus) to improve spring (as in jumping)

A fracture of the calcaneus also goes by the odd names, lover’s fracture or Don Juan fracture. Here, a person falls from a great height and lands on the heels, crushing the calcaneus under the body’s weight. Just imagine a cheating wife’s lover jumping from a bedroom window to escape an enraged spouse – hence, the name. Run!

Read about heels in Diana’s splendid tome, Drums of Autumn. This excellent scene at River Run, (which has yet to appear in TV Outlander S4) describes Jamie doing a heel pirouette in his plaid for his wife (who else?)! He whirls on his calcaneus. Yay!

He hadn’t worn the kilt since Culloden, but his body had not forgotten the way of it.

“Oh!” I said.

He saw me then, and white teeth flashed as he made me a leg, silver shoe-buckles gleaming. He straightened and turned on his heel to set his plaid swinging, then came down slowly, eyes fixed on my face. 

For a moment, I saw him as he had looked the morning I married him. The sett of his tartan was nearly the same now as then; black check on a crimson ground, plaid caught at his shoulder with a silver brooch, dipping to the calf of a neat, stockinged leg.

See Ian grip what is left of right leg and foot from Roger’s unfortunate fellow traveler in Starz ep 411, If Not for Hope. Look closely – a severed Achille’s tendon dangles from the calcaneus. Fabulous!

Rollo, what have ye got there? Yikes, it’s human! Bad wolf-dog! No more bedtime kisses. 😉

A deeply grateful, Outlander Anatomist

Photo credit: Starz

Fun Fact: philtrum

Anatomy def: Vertical groove extending from tubercle of upper lip to nasal septum.

Outlander def: Jamie’s splendid, Claire-kissed love charm.

Learn about the philtrum in Anatomy Lesson #14, Anatomy of a Kiss!

The human philtrum is a shallow groove extending from upper lip to nose. The groove is flanked on each side by a philtral pillar, a vertical  ridge of skin arising from each peak of our upper lip. Depth and width of the philtrum varies considerably among humans.

Wooie! Jamie’s philtrum is especially handsome because his upper lip forms a beautiful Cupid’s bow. The unpaired lip tubercle lies at the center of the bow with twin peaks of his upper lip on either side.  A philtral pillar arises from each lip peak and ascends toward the nasal septum.   Sharp lip peaks typically produce marked philtral pillars. The more defined the philtral pillars, the deeper the philtrum. Got it? Yay!

Although the philtrum is vestigial in humans, in animals such as dogs, it is a deep channel designed to direct odorants from mouth to smell receptors of the nose.  

An interesting tradition about the human philtrum is expressed in the 1948 film, Key Largo. Frank (Hah! Frank is everywhere!) McCloud (Humphrey Bogart) tells a child, that before birth, the soul knows all the secrets of heaven, but at birth an angel presses a fingertip just above one’s lip, which seals it to silence. Ta da. The resulting depression is the philtrum!

Kudos to the casting folk who chose Bree’s actor very well as in the books, the lass looks like her da’.  And, a facial feature both actors share in common is the appearance of the philtrum!

Read about the philtrum??? Alas, Diana does not specifically write about the philtrum in her books, but she does write about the lips.  Consider this provocative quote from Outlander book:

“He leaned down and gently fitted his mouth over mine. I had kissed my share of men…Jamie, though, was something different. His extreme gentleness was in no way tentative; rather it was a promise of power known and held in leash; a challenge and a provocation the more remarkable for its lack of demand. I am yours, it said. And if you will have me, then…I would, and my mouth opened beneath his…”

See Jamie and Bree’s philtra (pl.) in Starz ep 410, The Deep Heart’s Core! Yep, these two share philtral genes! As LJG would say, “Some sires stamp their get!”


A deeply grateful, Outlander Anatomist

Photo Credits: Starz