600 yards of string and 75 yards of muslin fabric later…Ornithology & Mammalogy’s antler bags are complete. Now that the sewing is done, it’s time to get the skulls into their protective bags and hang them up – a process that’s more complicated than you might think.
First, the lower mandible is attached to the rest of the skull with wire. The wire is coated with nylon to protect the bones. Next, a piece of soft foam is inserted between the upper and lower jaw, to keep them from bumping together (below, left). Then a wire is inserted through the back of the skull and a loop is formed at the top (below, right) for hanging.
Then the skull is placed in a small, medium, large, or XL archival cloth bag, which is tied at the top to keep it on (below, left). The last step is to hang the skull up on a hook – by the wire loop, not the tied cloth, of course. Racks like the one pictured below are being filled this week, and are organized by genus and species, so researchers can readily locate the specimens they need in the future.