Woohoo, first ever Tennessee Vulture Culture meet up!
I had an absolute blast meeting and hanging out with the seriously wonderful littlestwarrior this afternoon! Vickie you are too freaking awesome and talented and it was really great to get to nerd out over dead stuff, art, and puppies with you. Let’s do it again very soon! :D
Anonymous asked: Hi! I remember you saying before that you find some of your bones in creeks and rivers. Some of the locals here have had luck finding fossil bones in the river near me, so I'm going to give bone/fossil hunting a shot. Do you have any advice for bone collecting by a river? Are there certain times of day that are best to look, or anything in particular to look for? Do you look in the water/by the water's edge, or higher along the bank? Thanks!
Banks along running water are great places to hunt for bones! Stuff will wash in from miles around and new things come each time a heavy rainfall makes the water levels rise so you never know what you’ll find!
You can find bones anywhere around the water and even in it too. The edge, farther up the bank, even in the woods and fields around the water as well. Predators will catch fish and other small prey in the water and drag them to a quiet place to chow down and sometimes you’ll get lucky and find their leftovers. Bones really just turn up anywhere and everywhere!
Inspect everything closely. See a tiny piece of ivory white peaking out of the gravel or mud? Pick it up! It might just be a pebble or it might be an entire vertebrae or leg bone buried in the silt.
I’ve found that cloudy days a few days after a big rain are usually the best times to look. It’s easier to look for stuff when the sun isn’t glaring down on the ground or reflecting back at you from the rippling water (sun glares give me migraines so that’s something I try to avoid, haha) and new stuff is likely to wash in or be uncovered after a big rainstorm.
Hope that helps, Anon! Good luck and happy hunting!
littlestwarrior said: Is that a peroxide bottle drawing? These are great!
That it is! It and all those other little spot illustrations are for the “Supplies” pages. Thank you!
osteovermyhead said: You’re a fantastic artist!!
Thank you! I’ve neglected my traditional work for far too long so I’m really enjoying getting back into it.
art-iculated said: Cannibals in the old west? What movie is that? I am intrigued
Ravenous! It’s one of my favorite horror movies. Robert Carlyle is amazing in it. Gore, action, and just the right amount of twisted humor to make it a great flick. :)
Anonymous asked: Dogs have a baculum bone? Huh. The more you know.
That they do! A great deal of mammals have them with the exception of ungulates, cetaceans, marsupials and a few others. Humans don’t have them but great apes do.
And I recently learned that many female mammals have their own genital bones called baubellums or os clitoridis!
The more you know!
There’s a mnemonic for remembering which animals have bacula:
Primates - NHP (Adam used his to make Eve)
Rodentia - Rodents, though not rabbits
Insectivora - moles, shrews, hedgehogs
Carinvora - bears, cats, dogs, pinnipeds, raccoons, otters, weaseals, etc
Chioptera - bats
From the fabulous Mr. Oosik himself! This is super helpful but also very beautiful and hysterical.
kayandp said: Will this guide be PDF or print? (Or both?)
I’m planning on both. As of now it’s thirty-two pages covering numerous cleaning methods, basic anatomy, IDing different bones, supplies, safety, where to find bones, and what to do with finished bones. There will be a ton of illustrations in it.
The goal is to have printed copies and a downloadable PDF available in my Etsy shop around October/early November. Hopefully much sooner but we’ll see!
Anonymous asked: I have a few horned heads decomposing and the goat sheaths came off after about a week because they were fresh heads so the maggots ate the connective tissues, however I have longhorn skulls with the horn sheaths on them yet but these are older so not much maggot activity since they're mostly dried out. Any suggestions on what I can do to get the sheaths off? I'm at a loss since these horns are over five feet from tip to tip so soaking seems about impossible and I don't want to ruin them.
Oh sounds like you’ve got yourself quite a project, Anon!
I’ve “sweated off” some pretty big goat horn sheaths before by getting them wet, wrapping them up in plastic trash bags, and letting them sit out in the sun for a while. I’ve had success doing that on not super fresh skulls too so maybe that might work for yours? Pour some water down in there and give it a shot.
If that doesn’t work just try giving it a hell of a lot of elbow grease. Get a rubber mallet and gently beat on the horn to try and loosen it up first and then start trying to carefully twist the sheath loose and pull it off by hand.
…I really tried to word that a little better.
Well, not really.
Good luck with your projects, Anon! Hope they turn out beautifully!
Anonymous asked: So I live in Canada and have been obsessing over your water themed curiosity collection but noticed it only ships to the states. If I purchase it, is there any possible way to ship it to Canada, even if I paid extra postage for it?
Hey there! Thank you so much for your interest in that piece. It was a fun one to put together. :)
Unfortunately I don’t ship animal parts internationally. To do so here in the United States I would have to get a license from US Fish & Wildlife Services, pay a user fee for each package, and go through a broker to ship it from an authorized border port. I believe that the average total for all of these fees and shipping generally runs around $200-250 per package.
Wildlife parts includes not only bones, skulls, and furs but also parts from or made with crustaceans, insects, and other invertebrates. So that includes sea shells which are also in that curiosity collection.
Some domestic animal parts can be shipped internationally (so long as they didn’t originate in the wild) but I still usually just stick to US sales for all animal parts.
I can and do ship fossil and mineral specimens internationally though! So if you are interested in any of those specimens in the shop (I’ve got a couple of big trilobites, some fossil shark teeth, jars of fossils from my creek, and so on) I will be glad send them your way!
Thank you again for the interest and I’m sorry I couldn’t be of more help!
Anonymous asked: Hey!! I started my first peroxide bath today. The bones that I put in had been cleaned with a toothbrush after finding them on a hike (they were dry with no flesh- my intention was to remove some of the dirt stuck to them). Is it normal for the bones, once in the peroxide bath, to bubble? Should the water become instantly murky? One of the bones floats, is this normal or could there be more dirt to clean out? Thanks in advance!!
No worries, Anon! All is well!
Bubbles are a sign of a reaction called oxidation which occurs when peroxide comes into contact with an enzyme called catalase. Catalase helps protect organisms from cell damage caused by oxidative stress. So when it encounters hydrogen peroxide (an oxidizer) it reacts by basically attacking it. The bubbles are caused by the catalase separating the two oxygen atoms from the two hydrogen atoms that make up hydrogen peroxide.
So basically, you want to see bubbles when using peroxide because that means that it is active and doing its job to clean and whiten the bones!
Instantly murky? That’s probably just the dirt floating away from the bones as the peroxide works. You can change it out if you like but so long as the peroxide is bubbly and the bones are getting whiter it is still working just fine. Peroxide will eventually become inactive as it deteriorates (it will stop bubbling) so then it’s time for some fresh peroxide.
Bones floating in peroxide are just more porous than ones that sink. You can weight them down if you want but they will usually sink on their own once they become saturated.
Hope that helps explain what’s going on! Happy cleaning!
Anonymous asked: Do you know of any good animal anatomy reference books or anything? I see so many doing articulations and all that good stuff or even just picking bones from pellets. It would be nice to know and recognize what bones are whAt :3
I always highly recommend that anyone interested in skeletons and articulations pick up at least one of Lee Post’s Bone Building Manuals. I have the small mammals, canine, and moose books and they are really stellar reference guides. I’m hoping to get some of the others soon!
As far as skull IDing goes, Animal Skulls by Mark Elbroch is the skull reference Bible as far as I’m concerned. For North American species at least. It’s an excellent book that’s full of hundreds of photos and illustrations.
And personally, I’ve adored Cyclopedia Anatomicae by Gyorgy Fehér and András Szunyoghy for years, so much so that I have two copies! It’s an artist’s reference book and covers human anatomy as well but it also has scads of illustrations of dog, cat, lion, horse, deer, pig, cow, and other animal bones and skeletons. Good way to learn what a lot of different bones look like.
There are some others out there (and hopefully one of these days I’ll get my own little mini guide finished!) but as far as learning what bones are what just familiarize yourself with basic anatomy (skull, mandible, scapula, cervical, thoracic and lumbar vertebrae, humerus, femur and so on) and then start to learn what animals are native to your area. Then do a lot of internet research! Search for photos of your native animals and what their bones look like and start studying!
So when you find a medium-sized jawbone with twelve sharp little teeth in it and you know that you have opossums in your area then you can bet that you’ve just found an opossum jawbone. Or if you find a large, triangular-shaped scapula and you know deer are native to your region then you have likely just found a deer scapula!
Hope that helps, Anon!
Anonymous asked: hi, im a 13-yr-old who wants to do bone collecting, but my mom is a huge animal rights person. i mean, so am i, but you can't really do anything if the animal is already dead. i have no issues with handling dead things. any advice for convincing my parents??
Hi Anon! Thanks for the message and kudos to you for your interest in bone collecting!
I think you’ll find that the majority of bone collectors (as well as collectors of pelts, taxidermy, and the like) are supporters of animal rights and conservation. Most of us advocate for responsible pet ownership, donate time and money to conservation and rescue groups around the world, support responsible and respectful hunting practices, and so on. We care about the wild world and admire all aspects of it. You can love and appreciate animals by watching them play and graze in a meadow but I think you can also love and appreciate them by studying and preserving their remains.
I’ve loved animals all of my life. Most of my pets have been rescues and I’ve found homes for scads of others that I’ve encountered over the years. I help turtles and snakes cross roads. If I find a lost bug in the house I’ll carry it outside. I’ve had sick animals cross my path that I was able to save while other more unfortunate ones I was at least able to give a peaceful death. I much prefer live animals to dead ones but I do have a great respect and appreciation for both.
Personally I love getting to take something that would so often be pulverized on a roadside, turn to dust out in a field, or thrown in the garbage, clean it up, and either add it to my own collection*, make art out of it, or pass it on to someone else that will do the same. It’s very rewarding and I see it as a way of paying respect to the animal by keeping it from going to waste.
I think one of the most helpful ways to introduce others to this idea is to use museums as references. Pretty much everyone has been to some sort of museum before. Museums around the world have millions of specimens on display that millions of people study and admire every year. Taxidermy mounts, cleaned skulls and articulated skeletons, parts and whole creatures preserved in jars. But how do those specimens get there? Does someone just wave a wand and make them appear? Or do people spend thousands of hours working to collect, clean, and create those amazing displays for others to study and enjoy?
Even if you have no plans of working for a museum someday, a personal collection is a similar principle. Even if it is only for your own enjoyment and no one else will ever see it it’s still something that you will appreciate. Some people build model cars and planes or collect comic books. Some people articulate skeletons or collect skulls. And I know people that collect far stranger things than animal bones but so long as you aren’t breaking any laws or hurting yourself or anyone else then I say go for it.
I don’t know that there is any magic combination of words to use to make your folks understand, Anon but maybe by showing them this and introducing them to other collectors’ blogs and the like then maybe they will get a better sense of how you can collect bones as well as be an animal rights person.
I’d like to invite my followers to add their two cents here as well! Make this a Why I Love Animals AND Collect Bones testimonial post.
Best of luck, Anon! I hope you get to start building a wonderful collection very soon!
*Which I have the great joy and privilege of sharing with thousands of people around the world via this blog! I use my skulls as artistic inspiration and reference and many other people do as well. Plus it’s educational! Shows people a side to an animal that they would likely never see otherwise. We get to study how that animal lived and died and I think that’s very important not to mention fascinating!