Mystery Skeleton – Update 2

June 13, 2008


Post three – The experimentation continues…

Grass clippings got in my vat o’ bones and turned everything green.  The Bone Builders Notebook indicated that this was bad and probably permanent. Hmmm. Drastic action had to be taken. 

A quick trip to Wal-mart and 12 bottles of Hydrogen peroxide later I returned to the house for further experimentation.

The week previous, I had dinner with Dave, and Dr. Bakker and my little project was brought up.  I know that it isn’t dinner conversation for most people, a soaking mystery skeleton, but you’d be surprised how often stuff like that comes up when you work at a science museum. Anyway, I was telling Dr. Bakker, who has articulated skeletons before, that I was feeling confident-ish about the degreasing of the bones, but I wasn’t sure if it would be better to have an articulated skeleton (one where ligaments and whatnot are still attached to help keep the bones in the right order) or an disarticulated skeleton (each bone is separate and you have to put the puzzle back together).  After a bit of discussion, I decided to go with disarticulated. It doesn’t seem like it would make that much of a difference, but when you consider that there are about a 100 tiny bones in the hands and feet of a canid, not to mention the tail bones, it felt a little daunting, BUT, as with most projects I tackle, a total lack of knowledge or skill isn’t going to stand in my way.

So, back to the hydrogen peroxide…

Once I decided to go with disarticulated, the green bones weren’t so daunting. Hydrogen peroxide will slowly bubble all the ligaments and meat off the bones, but it will also bleach the bones of the grass stains. After a good soak, I was able to get most of the green off and the cartilage between the vertebrae totally disintegrated.

Stay tuned for the next exciting installment of Mystery Bone Update.

Authored By Nicole Temple

Nicole has worked for HMNS in some capacity since 1996, whether part-time, full-time or as a volunteer. She taught for seven years in public school, including four years in Fort Bend and a short stint overseas. While she never taught science, she was always the teacher called when someone needed to remove a swarm of bees, catch a snake in the playground, or get the bat off the ceiling of the cafeteria.

One response to “Mystery Skeleton – Update 2”

  1. Sharon says:

    First of all, I think you are brave to undertake this task, to boldly go where…aw, you get it! Secondly, I can’t wait to see how all this turns out. What if it’s a rat or some….not to be named… animal? Eeww!

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