Celebrity Bone of the Week

No, it's not bones of celebrities, the bones themselves are the stars in our week-by-week cut-out-and-keep guide to the difference between you and a large floppy heap on the floor.

And without further ado, let's get straight to the bones!

  1. The humerus. Developed at Los Alamos, New Mexico by U.S. scientists, the humerus is the bone that enables us to nudge people with a wink and a knowing smile, giving rise to the phrase 'humerus innuendo'. It can be retro-fitted to a conventional elbow by a trained osteopath for as little as 12.99 a month, with nothing to pay for a year. The humerus often goes under its stage name of the 'funny bone' - so-called because it doesn't half feel funny when you catch it on the bedside table. It requires little maintenance apart from a simple visual inspection once every six months for external cracks or flaking.

  2. The thoracic vertebrae. Even eminent bone scientists are still unsure exactly where these bones are and what they do, but they may be a kind of natural xylophone. The developmental biologist Keith Glans has suggested that they evolved so that, when primitive man was threatened by one of those wooly mammoths out of 10,000 Years BC, or Raquel Welch, they could distract the predator's attention by playing a medley of evergreen pub songs on their own spine. Before Glans finally became a permanent guest at the San Antonio Psychiatric Correctional Facility in 1992, he went on to suggest that Cro-Magnon Man might well have hypnotised and trapped rabbits and other small mammals by tinkling out a selection of 'Folking Up the Classics' on his own ribcage.

  3. The clavicle. Also known as the collarbone. Without this vital bone we would be unable to break it playing rugby and get eight weeks off school. Sharpened dinosaur collarbones make excellent weapons for hand-to-hand fighting, and the smaller human version can even be fashioned into a kind of makeshift cutlery. The clavicle was also a favoured musical instrument in Victorian times, delighting many with its gentle tone and responsive touch. Or was that the clavichord? I get so confused sometimes with all the voices in my head. Always the voices. They tell me to do things. Sometimes if it weren't for the stained hacksaw and the smell of industrial detergent in the car boot, I'd have no idea what I'd been up to the previous night. Anyway. Passons.

  4. The mandible. Best remembered for its popular '60s double-act with comedian and singer Maxilla, the mandible is today a vital part of our jaws which enables us to eat potato croquettes, jam, and undercooked sprouts. Invented in 1719 by the Glasgow physician Mad Jack 'Sputum' McMiserly, the mandible was an immediate success, as up to that time people had been unable to chew food and were forced to get their dogs to chew everything for them. It remains one of today's most popular bones, and was awarded the Order of Merit in 1977 for its work with undernourished children and salamanders.

  5. The coccyx. This bone was invented for comedy value by 19th-century physicians. The name comes from the Latin for 'cuckoo', which simply underlines the piss-taking aspect of the whole thing. The coccyx is a vestigial remnant of the tail that Man discarded when he came down from the trees because it spoils the fit of 501s. Today it is used only for spawning mirth among anatomy students, a few implausible X-Files plots, and as a nutritious bone snack for the under-5s.

  6. The nose. In fact the nose is not really a bone at all, but actually cartilage, which is the same stuff they make sharks and footballers' knees out of. The nose protrudes from the front of one's face for no readily apparent reason. What other part of your body demands constant wiping yet offers no reward in return? Perhaps the best argument for noses is that without them the popular party game of passing matchboxes around with your nose would be all but impossible.

  7. The scapula. Otherwise known as the shoulderblade. The scapula is about the size of a frisbee, but less aerodynamic. Comedian and tosspot Jim Davidson once auctioned his left scapula for charity, but received no takers. The shoulderblade is useless for cutting things - a Stanley knife is probably a wiser investment for that sort of caper.

  8. The radius. Also known as 'that bone in your forearm, is it the radium or the ulcer, I can't remember', the radius provides most of the structural strength you need to play darts, or give someone a Chinese burn. Although not one of the most famous bones, and generally confused with vague memories of school geometry, the radius has recently come to prominence after bejewelled jungle 'musician' Goldie had both his insured for over a million dollars apiece. No-one knows why.

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