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Thread: Osteology speciman preparation for an anatomy class...

  1. #1 Osteology speciman preparation for an anatomy class... 
    Forum Freshman
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    So a few quick questions...

    We started dissecting cats a while ago in my anatomy class. The cats are preserved in formaldehyde. As the cat is taken apart, the removed portions are being thrown away, so I don't believe my school is taking any precautions with disposing of parts...That having been said, the idea of salvaging the cat's bones (with the teacher's permission) when we're done with the entire thing and setting them up as a model of a cat skeleton (with the intention of donating the skeleton to my school) has come into my brain...

    So I have a few questions (provided I'm given permission to use the bones):
    (A) Is it plausible that I would be able to salvage the bones? They have been soaked in formaldehyde so there is likely little decay, but could that cause other problems with the bones?

    (B) How does one prepare bones? I looked into it on Google briefly, but all I found (besides paleontology websites) was mention of flesh eating beetles, which I don't think would take kindly to formaldehyde. I wouldn't want to butcher the bones, but I would want to prepare them so they would not stink and would not decay. Is there a lacquer of some sort that is used on them?

    (C) Is it plausible that I could actually set up a cat skeleton? I wouldn't try anything a la "fully articulated", but with the bones wired together by some means (best thing I could think of is drilling through the ends of long bones and threading sufficiently thick wire through then fixing it with epoxy in the drilled space).

    Any links or tips would be greatly appreciated! Thank you very much for your time.


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  3. #2  
    Forum Ph.D.
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Now I'm just a medical student so I'm not entirely sure about everything here but

    A) yes you should be able to salvage the bones if you have the patience for it. Formaldehyde won't damage the bones, they should be in good condition. However, you do realise how small cat bones are?

    B) I'm not too sure exactly about preserving the bons. There are ways of separating the boney matrix from the organic parts, I know there are ways of doing it of course but Im not sure.

    C) I suppose in theory it is possible. Keep in mind cat bones will be small and you will have to catalogue them carefully as you remove them in order to ensure you know what goes where! I'd also be careful with your drilling!

    Good luck!

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