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Skull Identification and cleaning

Discussion in 'Skulls and Skeletons' started by thellamattina, Feb 24, 2014.

  1. thellamattina

    thellamattina New Member

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    Hello all, I am a beginner to taxidermy, never even touched it in my life. I work at the local Goodwill in the warehouse and this came through today in a box of donations and I picked it up for $6.00.
    I just thought it would be a neat piece to have on display even if it is in rough shape and missing some pieces.

    1. What type of animal is it?
    2. What is the metal wire in the back?
    3. It appears to be in very rough shape, I am going to glue the jaw portion back together the best I can, Is this even worth fixing?
    4. What procedure should I use to clean/disinfect/soak it? There appears to be "matter" in a lot of the small crevices and inside the center
    of the skull.... no idea what it is!

    Thanks guys! Here are a bunch of pictures.

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  2. Kendall

    Kendall Active Member

    It is a cow/steer. The wire appears a way the previous owner used for a hanger.
     

  3. In my opinion, I'd say its a cow elk. Where are you located?
     
  4. I second the cow elk, the forehead doesn't seem broad enough to be steer.
     
  5. thellamattina

    thellamattina New Member

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    Thanks for all the information, I'm assuming by COW elk you mean a female elk which would not have antlers?

    How would I clean this skull? Just soak it in hydrogen peroxide for a day or so? Pure hydrogen peroxide or do I dilute it in any way?

    Also I live in northern Illinois right on the border of Wisconsin so I am not sure how I would have gotten an elk skull!
     
  6. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    I'd also go with elk as the skull seems rather narrow and long for a bovine. The skull was probably originally boiled clean. Hence the dried bits you are seeing internally. The wire, as pointed out, was so it could hang on a wall.

    I think you could give it a scrub with dishwashing detergent and a brush first. Then soak it in peroxide for a couple of days. If you use the 3% peroxide for cuts, use it straight. You can also go to a hair salon supply store and get 40 VOL or 20 VOL peroxide and use that straight or dilute it with 50/50 water. Fit the sections back together while they are still wet and glue with Elmer's glue. Hold everything together and in place with rubber bands or zip ties until it is all dry.

    If you decide to do more things like this, you can get a 5 gallon bucket, pour in a gallon or so of 40 VOL peroxide and just keep it aside, covered, until you have bones to soak and whiten. Be careful of the hair salon peroxide and do not get the cream variety. If you get it on you it will burn so make sure you work where there is water.
     
  7. thellamattina

    thellamattina New Member

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    Thank you for all of the information you guys, this has been very helpful. I will keep my progress posted as I work on this thing!
     
  8. Kendall

    Kendall Active Member

    I stand corrected. The presence of the sub-orbital scent gland pit points toward a cervid and not a bovid.
    Kendall
     
  9. thellamattina

    thellamattina New Member

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    Well the skull (which I have named Lucille) is now soaking in 3% Hydrogen Peroxide. I will check it over the next few days periodically and see its progress.

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