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Flesh or Grease?

Discussion in 'Skulls and Skeletons' started by xxohmycaptainxx, Dec 17, 2014.

  1. xxohmycaptainxx

    xxohmycaptainxx Member

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    Could someone tell me whether this area on my South African Cape Hare skull is flesh or grease? When I removed it a couple days ago from the maceration jar, to remove all the teeth, this area was still awful looking. Its not spongy like flesh but it seems too dark to be grease to me. Is this actually just a really greasy area or is this tough stuck on flesh that hasn't softened after 2 weeks of maceration?

    The picture shows the back of the skull. That hole is the ear bone.

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/carapar56/15427654603/
     
  2. akvz

    akvz New Member

    I can't quite make out what you're wondering about, but I know post-maceration my jackrabbit skulls will get a lot of grease in the fenestrations at the back of the skull/sinus area/lower jaw/etc. and they've cleared up well enough in the degreasing process. Hares have more spaces to "catch" grease than rabbits, I think, so it shows up more... they have heads like a colander it seems like. You might gently brush the grease with a toothbrush soaked in dawn, it should dislodge it some.

    Nice skull, btw... did you get it from here? Not a typical species to find in the raw like that.
     

  3. lokireptiles

    lokireptiles Member

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    AKVZ-

    There is a bunch of stuff posted on eBay that's got basically dried flesh all over it. Not whitened. That probably would NOT pass customs here if it was inspected but it's coming from Canada. So it may just slide in.

    It's possible it's one of those.
     
  4. xxohmycaptainxx

    xxohmycaptainxx Member

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    It was shipped to me with lots of dry flesh on it. Bought it from Atlantic Coral Enterprises. They tend to be one of the bigger suppliers of African skulls on eBay. Unfortunately you're probably right in it being grease. Hopefully I don't have too much of an issue degreasing it since the bone is thin.
     
  5. lokireptiles

    lokireptiles Member

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    Be careful with stuff from ACE. I have found some ham beetles on skulls I got from them before, it's commercial grade stuff anyways.
     
  6. carlabrauer

    carlabrauer Quality bone cleaning with dermestid beetles

    Looks like some flesh or connective tissue that wasn't properly cleaned. If they didn't properly remove all tissue from the skull, I wouldn't bet the thing has ever been degreased either. If it is tissue, it should come off in maceration. Keep your water warm, and if the skull was very dried out when you got it, it may take a while to get it sorted out. I'm working on a bull (cattle) skull for a client who had it sitting on a post in the desert for over a year, completely mummified. It's been in a 90 degree maceration tank for a week and a half and it still has a ways to go.
     
  7. xxohmycaptainxx

    xxohmycaptainxx Member

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    Alright thanks you guys. I'll probably let it macerate for another week or so and see if anymore flakes off and then check on it. And I'm not worried about the ham beetles. I don't have any dried animal parts so I'm good. I make sure I completely check my skulls outside anyway so any hitch-hikers can't get inside.
     
  8. akvz

    akvz New Member

    You could also freeze them for 2 weeks and it should kill off any parasites. Cold resistant diseases like trichinellosis will not be destroyed in this process, but maceration will take care of that.
     
  9. xxohmycaptainxx

    xxohmycaptainxx Member

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    I'm not too worried. I'm pretty careful in how I handle new skulls, especially ones that need processing. Just got in 8 raw skulls from Bassd83. Got all of them except my beaver in jars macerating. Some are already having chunks of flesh falling off. Nice to see the process working quickly. The hare is starting to whiten up and is actually degreasing quite a bit. I'm sure the last bit of flesh will be gone in a few days or so. I'll probably remove it and start degreasing on Christmas eve when I'm off work.
     
  10. lokireptiles

    lokireptiles Member

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    xxohmycaptainxx-
    You should be concerned - Ham beetles aren't just attracted to dried animal parts they will also eat hides and bones of which they are particularly attracted to greasy bones. So they are a concern to pretty much any bone collector.
     
  11. xxohmycaptainxx

    xxohmycaptainxx Member

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    Is that so? Hmm. Well I don't have any hides and the majority of my skulls aren't really greasy at all. Like I said I always check my shipments outside, clean them thoroughly and then bring them in. I don't order from ACE that often. I only have a couple skulls from them. One being a huge Burchell's Zebra, that I drenched and cleaned thoroughly outside, and the other being a Tree Hyrax that I soaked in hot water for a few days when it arrived, to both sterilize it and to loosen up some teeth so I could remove them and then glue them back in properly.
     
  12. Raphite01

    Raphite01 New Member

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    If that area is soft at all then you may have some ligament left on there; skulls from overseas are almost always boiled. It's not unusual for the occipital region to have a somewhat darker color due to higher bone density, though.

    Any "grease" clogging foramina or other areas is probably adipocere, and will need to be removed manually.
     
  13. xxohmycaptainxx

    xxohmycaptainxx Member

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    That's the issue its not soft. It feel like bone but looks like flesh. If that makes sense. I've tried scrubbing it clean but all it did was turn a white toothbrush a dark yellow color. I have a strong feeling its just grease, either way I'm leaving it to macerate until the 24th, and then removing it, scrubbing the hell out of it and popping it into some ammonia. Not even going to fuss with dawn for this one.
     
  14. lokireptiles

    lokireptiles Member

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    It's probably just greasy bone if it's hard. A soak in ammonia or better still for thinner and more fragile skulls acetone will help fix that.
     
  15. xxohmycaptainxx

    xxohmycaptainxx Member

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    Well I let it continue macerating. The spot has cleared up a bit more and its not as yellow but it definitely needs some heavy degreasing. I'll probably go with ammonia as I don't really have the money to buy acetone, which is real expensive. Going to remove it tomorrow and put it in some water and dawn so it starts degreasing, then switch it to ammonia when I get some more.