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Birds and Mammals Research 

June 11, 2013

The Articulation of Orca O319: All of the Pieces Put Together!

On Sunday, June 9th, we finished our articulation (all except for the right flipper, which will be completed at a later date. Read more about that here). The  hyoids, scapulae, flipper, pelvic bones, and skull were all attached to complete O319’s skeleton. Over the last five weeks, we had 286 total pieces to assemble.

photo_hyoids

photo_scapula

photo_flipper

photo_pelvic

photo_skull

The skeleton will be on display in the Built for Speed Orca Lab (where we assembled it) through September 29th, so you still have plenty of time to come see it up close. After the Built for Speed exhibit closes, O319 will have a permanent home hanging somewhere on the main floor (just like our Blue Whale and Gray Whale skeletons).

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It’s been a fun 5 weeks! Thanks to all who came by and asked some great questions!

 

Laura Wilkinson
Curatorial Assistant and Specimen Preparator
Ornithology and Mammalogy

 

All marine mammal stranding activities were conducted under authorization by the National Marine Fisheries Service through a Stranding Agreement issued to the California Academy of Sciences and MMPA/ESA Permit No. 932-1905/MA-009526.

 


Filed under: Orca Articulation — Laura Wilkinson @ 10:24 am

June 5, 2013

The Articulation of Orca O319: The Ribs

Another time-intensive process has been matching up the ribs, getting them in the right order, and attaching them to the skeleton. Just like the vertebrae, it’s a bit overwhelming to pull all of the ribs out on a table and realize that they have to be matched and ordered, but it’s not so bad once you get the hang of it.

First, we matched ribs up by “kissing” the ends together; a pair of ribs should be the same length and shape, so when you place the top ends together, the bottoms should match, as well.

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Once matched, we ordered the ribs from front to back of the Orca. The first set of ribs is the smallest, moving progressively larger until about ¾ of the way back, when they start to get smaller again. The last sets of ribs then are distinguished by their single heads (rather than double), showing that they only connect to the vertebrae in one spot rather than two.

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After getting the ribs in the correct order, we had to figure out which ribs belonged on the left and right sides of the Orca based on the way that the bones curve. After everything was correctly matched and ordered, the ribs could be matched to the smaller sternal ribs that connect the main rib to the sternum. Holes were drilled in the ends of each bone to insert connective pins, which were then glued into place. These will anchor the ribs to the vertebrae. Eye bolts connect the ribs and sternal ribs together to allow for flexibility.

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Properly aligning all of the ribs on the sternum and vertebrae has been quite a process. Each rib has to be placed precisely or else the rib cage won’t come together into one smooth section. We’ve been using rope to hold the sternum in place while we move the ribs to their correct positions. A piece of cardboard helps to keep the ribs spaced and placed correctly before finally gluing the connective pins into place.

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Lastly, we’ll use epoxy clay and silicone to cover the connective rods.

We’re wrapping up on the articulation and will be finishing on Sunday, June 9th. Come by this week to see us put the finishing touches on our Orca!

 

Laura Wilkinson
Curatorial Assistant and Specimen Preparator
Ornithology and Mammalogy

 

All marine mammal stranding activities were conducted under authorization by the National Marine Fisheries Service through a Stranding Agreement issued to the California Academy of Sciences and MMPA/ESA Permit No. 932-1905/MA-009526.


Filed under: Orca Articulation — Laura Wilkinson @ 2:05 pm

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