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  #1  
Old 01-13-2007, 04:24 PM
misterW misterW is offline
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Easiest way to remove flesh from bone?

I'm interested in collecting skulls, skeletons, etc. from various species. What would be the easiest and quickest way to remove flesh from carcasses that I come across?
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  #2  
Old 01-13-2007, 04:37 PM
AskNott AskNott is offline
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In terms of food preparation, slow, wet cooking for 4 or 5 hours will dissolve all the connective tissue, and the meat will easily slip off the bones. In terms of "carcasses that you come across," boiling or braising a rotting carcass for 5 hours doesn't sound like something you'd want to do indoors.
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Old 01-13-2007, 04:37 PM
RealityChuck RealityChuck is offline
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Dermestid Beetles.
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Old 01-13-2007, 05:05 PM
hlanelee hlanelee is offline
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Fire ant nest.
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  #5  
Old 01-13-2007, 05:18 PM
WhyNot WhyNot is offline
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There's a section on Bone Cleaning on this website about making knucklebones.
Quote:
Use a very sharp boning knife to remove the bones you need from the limb. Be sure to remove any excess cartilage or shreds of flesh. Always practice basic knife and kitchen safety.

The bones can be cleaned a number of different ways.

* Boil in water for between 15 minutes and half an hour.
* Soak overnight in bleach (bones will smell like bleach for some time afterwards).
* Pour hydrogen peroxide over the bones and watch it foam. Continue to pour until foaming ceases.
* The natural method: place in a safe area outside (safe from wandering domestic and wild animals) where ants or other carrion-eating insects can reach the bones. A glass jar with large holes in the lid is recommended. Let the insects clean the bones for you. This is a time-consuming yet very effective method.
* A modification of the above (fourth) method: You might be able to find information on ordering special beetles to clean the bones. I don't really know anything about them, but, there are supposed to be beetles that eat flesh off any sort of skeleton that are used within the medical/taxidermy professions. Supposedly, that's how anatomical human and animal skeletons are cleaned.
* A butcher/taxidermy worker suggested boiling the bones in something called "sal soda".Apparently, that is what they use in his taxidermy shop in order to clean skeletons for hunters. It is suppose to dissolve tissue and cartiliage into a gel that can be rinsed off. He gave me a large bag for free, and it worked quite well on the first batch of bones I used it on.

After doing any of these methods, you may have to remove extra "shreds" of flesh. I tried a combination of the above methods, and found that bleaching the bones overnight, then boiling them in sal soda for about twenty minutes was the best method to get clean, white bones. If you overboil the bones, they will dry out, and the outer calcium covering will flake away. They are still usuable if this occurs.

All About Sal Soda
Provided by: Ifor of Gwent (BarkerT@logica.com)
BarkerT@logica.com

Sal soda is sodium carbonate, the same chemical as washing soda. Sodium carbonate typically comes in three forms - washing soda is the decahydrate, which is usually in the form of colourless crystals that look a bit like crushed ice. If left in the open air, these lose water and become the powdery white monohydrate (the sal soda mentioned above). Soda ash is the anhydrous compound.

Sodium carbonate an alkali, so it will be good for stripping away greasy substances such as fat and marrow. Don't use it with aluminium vessels or cutlery, and try to keep it off your hands, though it's not as nasty as sodium hydroxide (caustic soda) which is often used for unblocking drains.
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  #6  
Old 01-13-2007, 05:30 PM
Mahaloth Mahaloth is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by misterW
I'm interested in collecting skulls, skeletons, etc. from various species. What would be the easiest and quickest way to remove flesh from carcasses that I come across?
Had an interesting weekend, eh?

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  #7  
Old 01-13-2007, 07:01 PM
nashiitashii nashiitashii is offline
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I'll second the dermestid beetle suggestion, as developing and maintaining a colony of them is relatively easy, and much less messy than peroxide or bleach options. (Don't use bleach, as it will overarticulate the skulls and make the materials more brittle. I don't know if peroxide does this, but I'd be wary about it as well.)
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Old 01-13-2007, 10:53 PM
Dewey Finn Dewey Finn is offline
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In 2002, the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco had an exhibit of animal skulls, many of which came from the home collection of Raymond Bandar, a San Francisco resident who has been collecting animal skeletons for decades, and has more than 6,000 in his house. Presumably, he can be regarded as some sort of expert in this, and his technique is simply to bury the specimen for a few months.
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  #9  
Old 01-14-2007, 03:52 AM
FRDE FRDE is offline
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In one of Patricia Cornwall's books she describes boiling the mess overnight in a 20% bleach solution.
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  #10  
Old 01-14-2007, 08:53 AM
Bosda Di'Chi of Tricor Bosda Di'Chi of Tricor is offline
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Does anybody else find themselves worried about mister W showing up at a Dopefest?

Say, one in a remote, poorly-lit & unfrequented spot?
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  #11  
Old 01-14-2007, 10:16 AM
misterW misterW is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bosda Di'Chi of Tricor
Does anybody else find themselves worried about mister W showing up at a Dopefest?

Say, one in a remote, poorly-lit & unfrequented spot?
ah, u're on to me... well, my collection will be complete soon enough... now, hypothetically speaking, what would you say would be the best way for luring a large primate into a basement/dermestid beetle colony ...?
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  #12  
Old 01-14-2007, 10:26 AM
diggleblop diggleblop is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by misterW
ah, u're on to me... well, my collection will be complete soon enough... now, hypothetically speaking, what would you say would be the best way for luring a large primate into a basement/dermestid beetle colony ...?

Free Candy always works.
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  #13  
Old 01-14-2007, 11:30 AM
Bosda Di'Chi of Tricor Bosda Di'Chi of Tricor is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by misterW
ah, u're on to me... well, my collection will be complete soon enough... now, hypothetically speaking, what would you say would be the best way for luring a large primate into a basement/dermestid beetle colony ...?
pron.
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  #14  
Old 01-14-2007, 11:34 AM
WhyNot WhyNot is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by diggleblop
Free Candy always works.
Candy is dandy
But liquor is quicker


Thank you, Odgen Nash!
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  #15  
Old 01-14-2007, 11:41 AM
StuffLikeThatThere StuffLikeThatThere is offline
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I've heard of museums using machines called degreasers to get clean bones.

From the American Museum of Natural History:

Quote:
The Osteology Preparation Lab is a fully equipped wet lab with fume hoods, maceration tanks, and a degreaser for specimen preparation, with a separate walk-in freezer and a climate- controlled room that houses a dermestid beetle colony for cleaning skeletons. Each Department also maintains separate specimen preparation and handling rooms equipped as wet labs with fume hoods and freezers.
I don't know if that's in your budget, though.

And, WhyNot, that's one of my favorite poems!
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  #16  
Old 01-14-2007, 11:44 AM
8675309 8675309 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bosda Di'Chi of Tricor
Does anybody else find themselves worried about mister W showing up at a Dopefest?

Say, one in a remote, poorly-lit & unfrequented spot?
To put it mildly.
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  #17  
Old 01-14-2007, 11:47 AM
Elendil's Heir Elendil's Heir is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RealityChuck
Cool link - thanks. Are those the beetles used in the movie (and maybe the book, I can't recall) Gorky Park?
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  #18  
Old 01-14-2007, 12:09 PM
RealityChuck RealityChuck is offline
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Most likely.

My daughter does some cleaning of sea lion skulls and it's done with a colony of dermestid beetles at the Smithsonian.
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