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Desert Skull

"(...I'm just a pile of bleached bones. I can't talk.)"

Whenever a show features or references a desert, savannah or other barren land, odds are good that a bovine cranium will be involved to set the mood.

Often accompanied by cacti.

Compare Ribcage Ridge, a sister trope.

Examples:

Anime and Manga
  • The opening scene of GUN×SWORD has Van looking down at an animal skull in the desert and questioning why the creature isn't still alive for him to eat.

Art
  • Shows up in many Georgia O'Keefe paintings.

Comic Books

Film — Animated
  • The owl mariachi band from Rango stood on one of these while singing about Rango's journey.
  • On An American Tail: Fievel Goes West, Tiger runs into a buffalo skeleton that seems to come to life when he's not looking. Turns out it's being manipulated by native mice, who then capture Tiger.
  • The Lion King: As Simba returns to the Pridelands, he finds it riddled with wildebeest skeletons to show how Scar's rule has ruined the land. At the end, as Simba returns to power, there's a brief shot of a skull being washed away by the rain, to symbolize the end of the old regime.
  • Cars featured a variation of this: since all animals in their world are also vehicles, in the desert surrounding Radiator Springs, there appear to be rusted-up car parts lying among the rocks and cacti.
  • Fantasia - the 'Rite of Spring' segment shows the last of the dinosaurs shuffling into the desert dust - after which the camera pans to and closes in on the skull of the mighty T-Rex.

Video Games

Web Comics
  • Coyote Ville has one in Ed, who can converse and interact with the rest of the cast.

Web Original

Western Animation
Deadly Fireworks DisplaySpectacleDesolation Shot
Denying the Dead Parent's SinsDeath TropesDid Not Die That Way
Dem BonesSkeletal TropesElephants' Graveyard
ArthurImageSource/Western AnimationAs Told by Ginger

alternative title(s): Cow Cranium
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