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  Restoring the Skull

The new skull and mandibles (jaw bones) of the Museum’s newly restored Blue Whale skeleton is from a similar-sized Blue Whale that stranded in Ventura, California in September 2007 (#SBMNH 2007-19). The new skull and mandibles were stored offsite at the Channel Islands Marine and Wildlife Institute (CIMWI) in Gaviota, California. While at CIMWI, the bones went through maceration, a complicated process involving the removal of the remaining soft tissues and the treatment of the bones for long-term display. Below are pictures that show the preparation process before the bones were shipped to Academy Studios in Novato, CA to be articulated with the post-cranial skeleton.


Condition of bones of a new Blue Whale skull at the Gaviota prep site prior to start of cleaning (October 2009).


Setting up the Gaviota site where preparation of the new Blue Whale skull will take place (12 Nov 2009).


New Blue Whale cranium with Desert Woodrat nest prior to start of cleaning (29 October 2009).

Peter Gaede using the new steam cleaner to begin the process of cleaning the cranium of the new Blue Whale skull (6 Dec 2009).

Michelle Berman, Museum Associate Curator of Vertebrate Zoology, using steam to assist with the removal of oil and other organics from bones of the skull (16 Dec 2009).

Peter Gaede with pipe gantry and electric chain hoist used to lift the new Blue Whale cranium for cleaning. (22 Dec 2009).

Placing the posterior end of the vulmar bone into a masceration tank for soaking (Nov 2009).

Cleaned cranium of new Blue Whale skull ready for transport to Academy Studios (20 May 2010).

New Blue Whale lower mandibles (jaw bone) prior to start of cleaning (29 Oct 2009). The lower mandible is the largest single bone of any animal.

End of the first day of preparation work on the new Blue Whale mandibles prior to steam cleaning and masceration (22 Jan 2010).

Michelle Berman, Museum Associate Curator of Vertebrate Zoology, steaming the new Blue Whale lower mandibles (28 Jan 2010).

Placing the maxillary bone into a new masceration tank with the mandibles (10 Mar 2010).

Mandibles and maxillary bones in masceration tank (25 Feb 2010).

Paul Collins, Museum Curator of Vertebrate Zoology, attaching lifting straps to new Blue whale mandible in masceration tank prior to removal from the tank for steam cleaning (10 Mar 2010).

Peter Gaede drilling weep holes into a mandible  to be used for getting steam into the inner core of the new Blue Whale mandibles (29 Mar 2010).

Steam being applied through a drilled weep hole to force oil and other organics out of the inner core of the new Blue Whale mandible (29 Mar 2010).

Paul Collins, Museum Curator of Vertebrate Zoology, applying steam into the inner core of the new Blue Whale mandible. Notice the drilled weep holes along the mandible used to apply steam into this large bone and the oil and other organics that have come out of the bone during this steam cleaning (27 Apr 2010).

Laura Wilson applying steam to one of the new mandibles. Notice the oil and other organics coming out of this bone during this application of steam into this bone (27 Apr 2010).

Prepared Blue Whale mandibles awaiting shipment to Academy Studios for stabilization, repair and reassembly (21 Jun 2010).

Loading prepared Blue Whale mandibles for shipment to Academy Studios for stabilization, repair and reassembly (11 Jul 2010).

Peter Gaede helping to load prepared bones of the new Blue Whale skull for shipment to Academy Studios where they will be stabilized, repaired and reassembled (21 Jun 2010).





Blue Whale Skeleton at Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History
NEXT STOP:
Academ
y Studios in Novato, CA.


 

 

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