Since there have been some questions: I believe it is an elk’s jaw bone. She is boiling it for sanitary reasons. Yes, we still cook pasta in that pot. I guess this is what you get for marrying a biologist.
The jaw bone and those antlers on the counter now decorate the Desert Room, which I use as a studio in between times that it is being used as our guest room, and it is a big load off my mind to know that they have been sterilized.