Hey remember that post on diaphonization just a few days ago when we said we had a diaphonized specimen in our collection? Well here it is!
We got these cute little mouse legs in a store called Bazaar in Baltimore, in the Hamden area. If you’re ever around there check it out because it has lots of cool stuff for a good price.
I’m pretty sure these are hind legs, but I’m not positive.
Diaphonized Mouse Legs
Hind legs dyed to show the skeletal structure
Size: 2″ tall x .75″ wide
From: Bazaar Baltimore
Diaphonization is the art/science of staining the bones and cartilage in a wet specimen. The process was first developed in 1977 by the scientists Dingerkus and Uhler, who originally called it “clearing and staining”. The “clearing” part was making the specimen clear by bathing it in trypsin, a digestive enzyme that slowly breaks down the flesh. The specimen is then soaked in multiple batches of bone, cartilage, and/or muscle dyes (the “staining”). The most common dyes are alizarin red and alcian blue. Alcian blue stains cartilage, alizarin red stains bone, and muscle is stained purple.
Diaphonization is almost always used on small specimens under one foot in length because the process takes such a long time. A large rat could take up to six months to complete. Amphibians, fish, and reptiles are particularly suited to this process because their tissues are usually too delicate to be dissected. Using diaphonization on these species is the best way to look at their inner structures without changing or harming them.
We have one diaphonized specimen in our collection so far that we’ll be posting soon!
I gave this ostrich skull to M as a Christmas present this past year. He loves ostriches and even wants a farm full of them one day.
Ostriches are large, flightless birds native to Africa. They are the largest species of bird still alive today and also lay the largest eggs. They can run up to 43 mph, the fastest land speed of any bird.
They can weigh anywhere from 139-320 lbs, and the males grow to be between 6’11” and 9’2″ while the females are from 5’7″ to 6’7″. Their lifespan is up to 40-45 years.
Ostriches are also known for their very large eyes- they have largest eyes of any land vertebrate, measuring 2 inches in diameter.
It is a myth that ostriches hide their heads in the sand when they feel threatened. They actually either lay flat on the ground to blend in with their surroundings or they will attack if they feel threatened enough. They can kick very powerfully with their legs, so much so that they can disembowel and kill a person with their long claws in a single blow.
An ostrich skull with a detached lower jaw is the biggest skull in our collection.
Size: 7.5″ long x 3.5″ wide x 3.25″ tall
From: Clear Creek Trading- Etsy
This was the first human bone in our collection. One day in Obscura we saw a jar of human rib bones for relatively cheap. They told us that they get their human bones from cadavers that are no longer of use to medical schools.
There are laws that one must follow if you would like to have human pieces in your collection. The main rule is that the item cannot be immediately viable. For example, you cannot buy a heart from a recently deceased person that could still be used for a heart transplant to save someone else’s life. However, once the item does not hold any potential value to a living person, it is acceptable to buy and sell human remains.
An old rib from a medical school cadaver
Size: 4 1/2″ long x 3/4″ wide
M gave me this 3D printed skull with the glass dome to protect it. It’s so intricate and beautiful, and definitely one of the more artistic items we have in our collection.
The skull and dome are from one of our favorites, Evolution.
3D Printed Skull
A plastic, ornate model skull in a glass dome with a wooden base.
Size: skull 3″ long x 2 1/2″ wide x 2 3/4″ tall, dome 5 1/2″ wide x 6″ tall
From: Joshua Harker- Etsy
Price: skull $50-$100, dome $20-50
The pictures I included are of a polar bear skeleton, a grizzly bear, a cave bear skeleton, and a chart to show how big the cave bear was.
While we’re not too picky on what kind of bear, it would be really cool if we one day could get our hands on a cave bear skeleton or fossil! The cave bear went extinct about 27,500 years ago. Cave bears are most closely related to brown bears, with a last common ancestor dating to 1.2 to 1.4 million years ago.
Hopefully one day we’ll have a cave bear, but before that we’d love to acquire another species of bear skeleton too!
This skunk skull was the beginning of our collection. It is 3″ long, 1 3/4″ wide, and 1 1/2″ tall. M (my boyfriend) gave it to me for my birthday in 2013 and he got it from a store called Evolution in Soho in New York. This store has lots of animal skulls and skeletons, butterflies, jewelry, and even some real human fetus articulated skeletons! This store can get pretty pricy, but their pieces are museum quality.
One day we asked to meet with the articulators in the back to ask them some questions since we were going to start articulating our coyote skeleton. They were super friendly and gave us lots of great tips! If you are ever in the area, I highly recommend checking this place out. It’s great for the occasional high quality piece to add to your collection. Or, like us, it could kickstart your collection!
Size: 3″ long x 1 3/4″ wide x 1 1/2″ tall
From The Evolution Store