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Skeleton Cleaning Of Dissection Cats

Discussion in 'Beginners' started by Lindszoo, Jan 18, 2019.

  1. Lindszoo

    Lindszoo New Member

    Hello! My uni professor was going to trade 9 full cats and salamanders that are preserved for dissection for two of my skunk skulls. My question is, is it possible to clean these bones since the animals were preserved (I'm not sure what they used)? Would maceration do anything?
  2. CandidCoyote

    CandidCoyote New Member

    I'd be interested to know as well but I think its unlikely maceration will work very well as they generally use formalin or something similar to preserve those which prevents the tissue from decaying. Though maybe it would simply just take longer, after the tissues rehydrated it might resume rotting. I have no idea. I would be interested to learn if you find out!

  3. Megan :)

    Megan :) Well-Known Member

    I just wanted to ask...... How did you find a uni prof as cool as that??? :)
  4. skinsandkins

    skinsandkins New Member

    I've done a dissection cat before! She's the skull in my icon, haha. It was a Carolina dissection specimen (which is what a majority of modern class specimens are), which means it didn't have formalin or formaldehyde. I'd ask your prof to make sure, though-- formaldehyde (and its derivatives) are carcinogenic and toxic. Processing it to bones was a pain and a half, though.

    I started by removing as much flesh as possible. Maceration flat out didn't work (six months and not even mold would touch it), but after burying it in a flower pot for about a year it was mostly clean. It still had flesh attached even then, and due to the latex injections I had to sit there and pick bits of undecomposed flesh and latex from the bones.

    If I did it again I'd soak the mostly fleshed skeleton in water, switching out the water every day for a week or so (to try to get as much of the preservative out as possible), then bury it at least 6 months, ideally around 1.5 or 2 years. Putting it in a compost pile might help, if you have access to one!

    For the salamanders, I wouldn't process them to bones. Wet specimens would be my go to! They can be as simple as putting 70% isopropyl alcohol (the kind you get in the pharmacy section of a store) into a mason jar and putting on the lid.
    Setsuna and CandidCoyote like this.