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Discussion in 'Skulls and Skeletons' started by Rizzo, Feb 11, 2014.
What would be the easyist wat to clean this skull? Coold masseration or just proxide?
Beetles or warm maceration.
Beetles if you don't want it to fall apart. But they will chew on the beak. Maceration will leave the parts clean but you will have a little bit of assembly. There really is no such thing as cold water maceration. Warm the water and it will be clean in a week. Let it sit in a container of cold water and it will be there for months. The point is to get it clean, not have it sitting in a jar as a room decoration. Peroxide whitens it after you have degreased it.
for such bird skulls, maceration is really best to get it nice and clean.
macerate the beak-sheets off by putting it in warm water around 100 Fahrenheit/ 38° Celsius and start to try gently pull em off after 24 hours. make sure to remove em within 48 hours cuz after it will really start to degrade.
then keep the sheets in a formalin or alcohol solution till the skull is ready.
once the sheets removed, continue to macerate the skull till done.
since it's a crow, you might wanna pay attention to the loose lacrymal bones that this family has.
so besides the pterygoids and quadrata, you should check if those are not at the bottom of your maceration jar.
For such bird skulls, dermestid beetles are really best to get it nice and clean.
But then, I have lots of experience with beetles. Dermestids are great for essentially all cleaning from the very small shrew skulls up to medium sized to large mammals. For keeping the toes, carpals, tarsals and floating bones in position for small skeletons or s in skulls, beetles are the way to go.
@PA: not wanting to go into another maceration versus beetles topic and I 100% agree on toes, carpals, small stuff and young/stillborn animals. I just finished a stillborn chinchilla-skull and no way I could have done it with maceration.
the reason I would go for maceration on the crow is that you need to start maceration anyway to remove the beak-sheets
since you will want the tissue underneath gone.
and also because of the thin double wanded cranium with airpockets and tissue in between that beetles have difficulty reaching imo maceration will result in a cleaner whitened surface.
even if the smallest critters reach these areas they will be stuck and visible through the thin bone.
Thanks for all the advice.I have no bug. It is still winter in NC. Could I boil the skull and if so what is the chem that goes in the water?
I also don't wish to argue, it just rubbed me a little wrong that you unequivocally said that maceration was the best way. Too few people really understand how to clean smaller skeletons well with beetles. I read comments about maceration and beetles and see people recommending using maceration for smaller skulls, or those with small teeth. Beetles win hands down with small - ever try cleaning a mole skull with its' 44 teeth by maceration?? Imagine gluing the individual bones and all of the incisors - not really possible.
There is definitely room for both methods. As a museum worker, I have never worried about beak sheaths, as people who wish to study those utilize study skins. Even maceration will cause modifications to the edge of the sheath. Putting them back on skulls may be visually good for some, but removal is preferable for many anatomical/phylogenetic studies.
I don't keep track of who uses maceration and who uses dermestids here. I know Wouter is a maceration only guy and also associated with a museum/scientific collection, and he usually hedges his answers not always saying there is only one way to do things.
If you are boiling use striaght water with no chemicals.