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Skull Damage

Discussion in 'Skulls and Skeletons' started by Ms.Rigor, Oct 30, 2016.

  1. Ms.Rigor

    Ms.Rigor New Member

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    Hey Guys,
    So I have recently been working on the skulls from a rat and squirrel. I've found with both of them that the skull was shattered. The only pieces that I could retrieve were the bottom jaws. I've had them in plastic containers that hasn't been moved throughout the decomposition process as well nothing being able to get to it. There has been maggots going at it for the duration of the process. Both were found fresh.
    Is this just due to how fragile the skulls are?
    I wouldn't have thought the maggots could have damaged the skull at all! I know that dermestid beetles are the best for this but haven't got round to getting them.
    How can I prevent this from happening again.
     
  2. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    If they were found on the road, chances are that the damage is from getting run over. Maggots will also damage fine, thin bone and they are not the best choice for cleaning. You can invest in a small collection of dermestids or look into maceration as a cleaning tool. You will need heat for this to be effective and for a one off container that you will use occasionally, a submersible heater for an aquarium will work just fine. I have dermestids that I keep in a small glass aquarium. You do not need a large setup if you only do small, fragile things with them.

    Anything you pick up off the road will probably have shattered bones. Also, the bones of young animals come apart at the suture lines as the structures are not solid yet. If anything, you will get really good at gluing and restoration.
     

  3. lokireptiles

    lokireptiles Member

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    Ms. Rigor you should be abolento keepnthem together throughout the whole process. If they do come apart they should come apart at the "seams" where the bone plates are still growing and have not knitted together completely.

    Below is a very delicate juvenile mouse:
    [​IMG]

    Below is an armadillo that is not fully fused therefor has started to come apart

    [​IMG]

    Hope this helps
     
  4. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    Lokie .. did you beetle that mouse clean? Assuming so as it is still mostly together.
     
  5. lokireptiles

    lokireptiles Member

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    Yes I beetle clean 98% of my skulls.
     
  6. Ms.Rigor

    Ms.Rigor New Member

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    @seawolf and @lokireptiles Thank you very much for the replies. I have heard about the fusing before but didn't quite know what it meant and how it affect the process.
    I have recently found a good supplier of dermestid beetles in the UK so will be investing in that. Is it still better to strip the skull of as much meat as possible before adding the beetles or can you just add it in as is?
     
  7. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    Strip everything you can and remove the brain and eyes. Otherwise the smell will be horrible.
     
  8. Ms.Rigor

    Ms.Rigor New Member

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    Okay will do. What's the best way to remove the brain?
     
  9. A piece of wire (bent a little near the end going in) inserted into the cavity and twisted around to scramble things up and then rinse out under some light running water. It may take a few repeats and you may *not* get every bit of brain, but it does get most of it out!
     
  10. Ms.Rigor

    Ms.Rigor New Member

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    @Nukawin Thanks very much for the reply. Will try that :D