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Removing mummified tissue?

Discussion in 'Skulls and Skeletons' started by Osteoporosis, Jul 27, 2014.

  1. Osteoporosis

    Osteoporosis New Member

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    I recently bought a roe buck skull of eBay, but I noticed that there was a considerable amount of dried flesh at the back of the skull and inside the the cranial cavity. It's perfectly clean other than that, though I don't know if it has been whitened with peroxide or degreased. Some pictures of it can be found here.

    It's a nice skull, so I don't want to damage it, but it doesn't smell particularly wonderful around the areas I mentioned. Any clues on how to clean it without damaging anything?
     
  2. Use Dermestid beetles. Get own ones (1000 is enough) or send the skull to cleaners.
    The skull looks like to be badly macerated (since soft tissues left) & treated with peroxide.
    And you definitely should leave bad feedback on Ebay for that seller!
     

  3. Osteoporosis

    Osteoporosis New Member

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    I'm afraid it's a bit late to complain about/to the seller now - I only noticed it a few weeks after I got it, although I'm not sure how I could have been so unobservant.

    I'm not entirely sure how to go about getting dermestid beetles, but I suppose I could do some research. Are you sure they'd be the most efficient way of removing the mummified flesh? Would they even be interested in such old and dry tissue? Would it be preferable to soak the skull in warm water before one introduces the beetles to it? Or would it be an idea to soak it anyway and try picking the flesh off with tweezers?

    I apologize for all the questions.
     
  4. Could do a warm-water maceration. It won't smell great..

    You could try soaking it in brown-bottle peroxide for 12 hours or so, and seeing if that removes the skin. I have had field-cleaned skeletons with some dried meat on them, where I put them into this and it bubbled up and the flesh was easily removed.. if that doesn't work on first try, I would wash and proceed with warm-water maceration (a lot about using an aquarium heater has already been written in the archives)

    I would not allow any antlers to come into contact with either liquid.
     
  5. Osteoporosis

    Osteoporosis New Member

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    I have got some peroxide in a brown bottle (I believe it's 6%) - I suppose that would work? Do I need to dilute the peroxide at all or keep it pure?

    I think I'd feel more comfortable trying with warm water first. Wouldn't you have to get a tank to use an aquarium heater? Or would it work on a bucket or another container? Alternatively, I suppose I could leave it in the sun on a warm day.
     
  6. The 6% peroxide won't hurt the skull, just keep the antlers away from it (you should seal them airtight by wrapping each antler into plastic bag and fixing with rubber bands).
    Also use gloves when contacting with peroxide, or you'll get a nasty chemical burn.
     
  7. Osteoporosis

    Osteoporosis New Member

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    Thank you for the advice. Does the water need to be kept warm? Room temperature is the best I can do at the moment.
     
  8. Room temperature is OK, though you have to wait longer than with usage of heater.
     
  9. Osteoporosis

    Osteoporosis New Member

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    OK, thank you very much. I will give it a go.
     
  10. mike98

    mike98 New Member

    Personally I wouldn't worry about getting beetles for just one skull, as the beetles are quite expensive [sometimes] and do require more maintence then the other ways of getting the skull cleaned.
     
  11. Osteoporosis

    Osteoporosis New Member

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    I'll take your advice. Thank you.