Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Preparing Fish

Nice specimens of Xiphactinus audax can be found occasionally in the Niobrara chalk, however articulated fish are extraordinarily rare. Unfortunately a jumbled pile of bones is not very pretty, so this month we are attempting to reconstruct a 15 foot fish as a panel (flat) mounted skeleton.Above is the skull of the fish, nicknamed "Leroy". It is currently partially prepared and has been on display in our marine hall since the museum opened over 5 years ago. The body was collected sometime in the mid 1990s. Below you can see Jacob Jett preparing one of the many jacketed slabs of bone and chalk. Trust me, that's really his hand.
I'll continue to update as we proceed, however progress is slow due to how delicate fish bones are, even on these giant predators. Stop by and watch us work in the lab, we will be at this for a while!

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