Maceration Q - blackening bones?

Submitted by bones on 1/10/06 at 11:59 PM. ( )

I just took some bones out of a maceration solution. They had been in there for 4 weeks with 2 water changes (once at 2 weeks, once at 3 weeks). At 1.5 weeks maggots were seen in the solution so an insecticide was added 1 day before the change to let the bugs do their stuff for a few days; it was rinsed out completely at the first change. After the second change, a greasy scum formed on top of the solution and was allowed to remain for the duration because it kept evaporation and smell down.

The Q:
The bones have turned black in places. What caused this, and will my degreasing and whitening process remove it?

Return to Lifesize Mammal Taxidermy Category Menu


This response submitted by Evelyn on 1/11/06 at 10:34 AM. ( )

Maggot secretion can turn bones black. In order for maggots to have gotten to your skulls, the skulls must have been exposed, meaning out of the solution. Maggots cannot live in water. I do not understand why you kept changing out the water. All you did was hinder the natural process to do its job by doing this.

What kind of soaking tube are you using? I found that metal also can turn bones black, therefore I only use plastic tubs.

Since I can't see the skulls myself, it is hard to say what exactly caused the discoloration and whether you'll be able to get it out during the bleaching process.

I would resubmerge the skulls for a few weeks without changing out the water and see if that helps getting rid of the discoloration. Then let them sit out in the sun for a couple of weeks. This usually gets rid of most discoloration as well as the stench, and pre bleaches the skulls.

If the discoloration is caused due to the maggots, you may never get a fully whitened skull out of it.

Return to Lifesize Mammal Taxidermy Category Menu