The Infamous Inuit Oosik : Extinct Walrus Penis Bone

Inuit Oosik
An Inuit Walrus Oosik
Inuit 1823
Yupik Inuit in 1823

One of the most unusual and bizarre artifacts in the world is the “oosik”.

Used for thousands of years as a weapon by the Inuit, the heavy, blunt club is made from the baculum of the giant arctic walrus. More specifically; the baculum is the fossilized penis bone of the walrus, who has been extinct for around 12,000 years or more. He has left us an enormous legacy with which to remember him.

Oosik Detail 2
Baculum Center Detail

The oosik has become something of a folk legend and numerous references may be found online. We purchased one of these several years ago, thinking it was a fossilized tibia bone or something along those lines. Once we started to research the item, it became immediately apparent what we were holding in our hands!

The research began pretty simply…by attempting to guess what the item was. We were on the right track when we realized that item was likely a weapon or tool. This conclusion was drawn because the surface had clear evidence of usage wear and a glossy finish. The oosik has a natural form for use as a club; a seal club to be specific, so the rest was easy. There is a red ocher staining, which is further evidence of its use by an early culture. The word “oosik” is Inuit dialect for penis.

There is a scene in the Stanley Kubrick film “2001: A Space Odyssey”, where a transition occurs between primitive man and the space age. The primitive man is actually an ape, who discovers for the first time that a bone may be used as a weapon. At this point, he throws the bone in the air. Interestingly; the bone looks much like an oosik.

Oosik Handle
The Oosik Handle

Obtaining an oosik for the home or personal collection has become a little easier since the huge bone has become something of a cultural legend. Many examples of this ancient bone are bleached and splintered, probably never having been used as tools or weapons.

The extinct giant walrus is not the only guy with a baculum either. There are baculum for sale all over the world that come from other animals such as raccoons, dogs, cave bear, fox, otters and rodents. Of course; the smaller baculum are more readily available and many are not ancient.

The sheer size of the giant walrus baculum makes it unique and easy to place an age upon. The better examples are over 20″ long, fossilized and if you are lucky, used as an Inuit seal or battle club.

Oosik Bone
Our 21″ Giant Walrus Oosik

We are offering our example for sale HERE.

The oosik we are selling is the fossilized 10-12,000 year old baculum of the giant arctic walrus. It’s is well over 100 years old.

At some point in history, this particular example was discovered by an Inuit hunter or warrior and used as a weapon. Evidence suggests that this occurred 200 to 1200 years ago; based on research. The item comes from the estate of Jack Warner of Time-Warner fame. Discovered in an auction lot from his personal collection of primitive tools and artifacts.

Because of complicated trade laws, this Alaskan oosik will only be shipped in the United States.