Monday, July 11, 2011

Cat Scratch Fever!

Taking advantage of the summer A/C maintenance related closure of the Texas Memorial Museum, we've taken the opportunity to pull some specimens from exhibit for study, conservation, and, in the case of the subject of this post, mold making. One of the stars of the TMM exhibits, a 1 and 1/4 size Homotherium serum  bronze sculpture adorns the front steps of the Museum. Pretty wicked, eh? A large number of specimens of this animal were collected 60 years ago from Friesenhan cave by TMM paleontologists, you can read more about the finds at the Museum's webpage.  Our collections hold what I understand to be the only complete skulls and skeletons of these lion-sized animals, including a couple of kittens!
Homotherium serum at the TMM, image courtesy Wikimedia Commons Skb8721

We've begun re-preparation and conservation of some of the holotype material, including the forelimbs from this mount, as well as molding and casting the specimens. We anticipate having a complete composite skeleton available in a few months time.
Sterling Nesbitt examining casts in progress

Left manus before conservation. Covered in chicken wire and dental cement.

Same hand after removing the accumulated crud, consolidating and repairing the bone, and correcting the articulation of the phalanges.

Elements laid up in clay for molding. RAWR.
Head and neck, sans atlas. What's that you ask? Oh, that! Yes, that skull is actually bronze. No, it really doesn't really get much more awesome than that. We made these bronze skulls for the Mammoths and Mastodons traveling exhibit developed by the Field Museum of Natural History. 

No comments: