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Sea Lion Skull

Discussion in 'Skulls and Skeletons' started by xxohmycaptainxx, Dec 11, 2015.

  1. xxohmycaptainxx

    xxohmycaptainxx Member

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    Any of you have any experience with Sea Lions or other marine mammal skulls? I got my female California Sea Lion skull from Skulls Unlimited and I've started cleaning it up. I started with a peroxide bath that whitened it up a lot, made the grease stains visible, and made the old collection data really fragile. I ended up scrubbing the data off, as I have paperwork and pictures of the skull before I started cleaning it so I wasn't too concerned about preserving the writing, but now I'm having issues with degreasing. After peroxide I let it soak in hot water to loosen up the glue so I could separate the mandible halves and remove most of the teeth. I managed to remove most of the teeth but some are still stuck in.

    My issues are that I have no idea how I should degrease. Its in a big pot of water and standard blue Dawn Ultra. The pot is in my incubator. I've never used metal pots for degreasing though so I'm worried the temps might get a big hotter than 115*F, which I usually degrease at. What do you guys think? Should I stick to blue Dawn? I was thinking of trying acetone but I don't want to spend over $100 on acetone if I don't have to. Let me know, I want to get this skull clean asap but I know degreasing isn't a quick process. I just want to choose the best option while still making sure I don't damage the skull as its over 60 years old.
     
  2. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    If you bought one from them with the old data, I would have said to leave it as is. The old data on it is important and, now that you have removed it, you have pretty much eliminated having that skull now match the paperwork description. Someone will look at the pictures, glance at the skull and state that it isn't the same skull as it doesn't mach. They aren't going to take the time to compare bone structure.

    That said .. a skull that is this old should probably be soaked in acetone for a reaaaaallllly long time. Put the whole thing in a bucket, cover it with acetone and just leave it for at least three months. No heating. Just let it sit. if you can't access acetone (try places that sell house and building paint), try straight ammonia. Remember that these skulls are old and the dirt and grease has had many long years to sink in. You won't get it clean asap. I bought two of these myself and I soaked them in paraloid after just giving them a gentle scrub and wash with Dawn and then sealed them in large Ziploc bags to keep them from getting dirty again.
     

  3. xxohmycaptainxx

    xxohmycaptainxx Member

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    0
    That's what I thought. SU said that its fine to remove the writing. They made sure that it would be alright just in case a customer asked about it. They even offered to do it for customers in the past and offered to do it for free for me. I have to check the skull though. I think there's some of the smaller writing left on the inside of the jaw. Mine has the same collection data twice, once on the jaw, and once on the skull. And it also has the skull number on the other side of the jaw. I was sure to check that first as I know the writing could have been a very important thing.

    And I thought so. Its in dawn and water for now but will be removed as soon as I have money for acetone. Its maintaining a perfect temp at 115*F. Thanks for answering my question!!

    EDIT: Yup the writing on the inside jaw is still perfectly fine so I'll make sure that's not removed, so I'll probably avoid putting that in acetone all together. Thank goodness the jaw is basically completely degreased already XD