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Chondrichthyan skulls

Discussion in 'Skulls and Skeletons' started by Vkvz, Mar 20, 2015.

  1. Vkvz

    Vkvz New Member

    Here are a couple of shark and skate skulls. I've been experimenting a lot with those over the past year and I'm starting to get good results.

    Starry skate (Raja asterias) skull.

    Blue shark (Prionace glauca) skull. I posted this one here a while ago already. It was my first shark skull and made a lot of mistakes on that one. Most of the upper teeth were removed by the fisherman or someone else before I got the head.

    Small-spotted catshark (Scyliorhinus canicula) skull. I've experimented a lot with this species since I have access to a large number of specimens. Not the most impressive, but they make excellent practice material.

    Blacktip shark (Carcharhinus melanopterus) skull. One of my latest work, I'm very happy with this one. I cleaned a couple which both turned out great. This one is for my lab and it is going to be a full skeleton, which is mostly clean already, just need to dry some parts, clean half of the gills and articulate everything.

    I've also been fixing a couple of badly prepped cartilaginous skulls from different species, might post some before/after pictures of that when I get around finishing them as well. And I'm also working on a complete mako skull which is looking really nice so far, will post a couple of pictures when it is done.
    Bunchofbones likes this.
  2. Orkman-X

    Orkman-X New Member

    Impressive Sebastien!! great stuff.

  3. AH7

    AH7 New Member

    Those are the best chondro specimens I have EVER seen!

    I feel like you've posted a "how to" guide on here before. Care to update us?
  4. Those chondrichthyans are great as I told you ;)
    Still have to finish my mako skull... deformations are other couple mistakes make me stay far from reassembling it.
  5. Guus

    Guus Member

    Nice!! When are you coming to pick up the porbeagle?!? It's reserved for you until this summer... in September I'm starting with it myself hahaha!
  6. Vkvz

    Vkvz New Member

    Thanks all! :)

    Thanks! :D actually I've seen a few better ones, so there's still room for improvement :)
    Here's a quick step by step guide I did a while ago while working on catsharks:
    And here are some pictures of a full skeletal prep, including the drying process:
    I'm actually working on a much more detailed protocol I hope to publish somewhere in the not too-distant future.
    Still need to experiment further with freeze drying process and a couple of other techniques, but don't have the time or facilities right now.

    Finish that mako or mine will be done before yours ;)
    Did the hyomandibulars/ceratohyals on your specimen deform a lot?

    Damn, you do know that I'm supposed to defend my PhD this september/october, right? Which probably means a very shitty summer without seeing the light of day ;D But if you keep it for me a little longer...I could bring something really really cool for you ;)
  7. akvz

    akvz New Member

    I think I remember seeing you do a chondro skull with your method... I looked it up to try to do the skull of a black-tip reef shark myself! However, I had never worked with a shark before, beyond a cat shark in my aquatic science course... I may have butchered the shark a little. :-[ I definitely have a ton of respect for what you're doing with these after trying it myself. The cartilage of the head is very easy to cut into, especially while skinning.

    The full hound shark articulation is AMAZING, I know you mentioned doing acrylic rods in the post for the next one, but I think the brass really works for that specimen more. The clear acrylic may cause some visual confusion, as it may look similar to come cartilage on the specimen, and so the brass serves as a contrast in my opinion. I do think the positioning could be tweaked, but as it is, it's very elegant and it's extremely impressive.

    Fish are some of my favourite animals, especially skates and rays... but... I'll let you handle them!
  8. I got an other mako yesterday ! So all this week-end is about cutting and eating mako.
    Yes, I guess you will finish yours before mine...
    The hyomandibulars bones deformed greatly on the first one that I defrosted too quickly, but came out perfect on the second mako because perfectly dried.
  9. Vkvz

    Vkvz New Member

    Damn, you are lucky with those! :)

    Akvz: Thanks a lot! :)
    Where did you get your blacktip specimen if you don't mind me asking?
    The next complete skeleton will probably be articulated using brasswire as well, as I like the look of it and I'm not too used to acrylic yet :)
  10. akvz

    akvz New Member

    Blacktip was local, a guy brought it into the shop to get mounted but since skin mounts on sharks don't turn out well, I ended up with the shark and a repro was done. I am on the gulf coast in a fishing/resort town so it is not uncommon for me to be able to get large fish like red drum or get sharks and rays from the ocean, most fishermen do not want the bodies or meat from chondrichthyans. Wish I was a fish guy! :(
  11. Wouter

    Wouter Member

    Hi Sebastien,

    Great preparations, there are'n't many people who can prepare a chondrichtean skull as well as you do. I claened one myself last week, a chymaera which looks really bizarre. I cleaned it manually but it has not been freeze-dried yet. I'm curious how it will turn out.

  12. The skulls are awesome, especially smaller ones (I always thought that small chondrychtians are too soft/fragile for cleaning...)
    Does this cleaning technique work for acipenseriformes skulls as well? Got 2 small paddlefish heads (25 cm), and afraid that bugs may harm them due to small size.
    Or should I try a sturgeon first?
  13. Great work!
  14. Vkvz

    Vkvz New Member


    Wouter: great!! I never worked on a fresh chimaera yet, must be really cool! How did you clean it? Post some pictures when it is done! Is it a male or a female?
    And any updates on the thresher? ;)

    ElephasMaximus: actually I even cleaned the skulls from a couple of catshark neonates. They don't turn out very nice due to the very small size/poor mineralization, but it can be done. Regarding your question, I have no idea since I've never had the opportunity to work on Acipenseriformes specimens yet. That being said, I just met someone who can probably get me a couple of sturgeon heads, so I'll definitely give it a try. Where did you get those paddlefish? I would be very interested to hear from you if you try it out.