We provide professional bone cleaning services, ranging from individual bones to complete skeletons, including non-bony parts such as horns, beaks and claw sheaths. We use a variety of cleaning techniques such as maceration and dermestid beetles which are used in museums and universities worldwide. Once cleaned, each specimen is degreased and whitened to ensure proper conservation and appearance. In addition, specimens can be coated with a protective finish, which is recommended if they are to be handled on a regular basis.
We offer custom skeletal articulation services for every specimen we clean as well as for any other specimen that was cleaned by another party. We use a combination of wires and glues to ensure strength, durability and visual appeal all combined into high quality mounts. We favor dynamic articulations to highlight the often incredible complexity and lifestyle of the animals we work on, however, we can also accommodate customer requests for specimens that are articulated the old-fashioned way, in a static posture and with visible armature similar to the exhibits in the Gallery of Comparative Anatomy at the National Museum of Natural History in Paris.
Cartilaginous fishes (sharks, skates, rays and chimaeras) have a unique cartilaginous skeleton which is notoriously difficult to prepare due to its delicate nature. As a result, most skeletal specimens of these animals displayed in museums and collections are restricted to isolated sets of jaws. Here at Kraniata the preparation of cartilaginous skeletons is a specialty. We have developed our own technique for the preservation of delicate and often neglected structures such as labial cartilages and sclerotic rings, and have the skills and experience to prepare individual or partial structures (neurocrania, vertebrae, etc.) as well as complete skeletal specimens that are durable and ready to display.
Thanks to our academic background in vertebrate palaeontology, we have extensive experience with micro and macrofossil material, both in the field and in the lab. Tools and treatments (mechanical and/or chemical) will be selected based on the nature of the specimen, as well as its condition and intended use (research and/or display specimen, cultural artefact, private collection etc.). The finished piece will be consolidated to ensure durability.
We have experience in repairing and restoring skeletal and fossil specimens and have proper authorizations from the french department of museum collections to work on patrimonial and heritage specimens. Our methods include casting new teeth or individual bones to replace missing parts, filling cracks, consolidating bones and, if needed, the complete re-cleaning, degreasing and articulation of old skeletons.
Molding and Casting
Whether you are working with fossil or modern specimens, keeping the original may not always be an option. Such specimens can be molded and cast in a variety of materials to produce lightweight, durable and anatomically correct replicas that can be handled and studied without risking any damage to the original. Our process ensures that even the smallest anatomical details are faithfully reproduced, and replicas can be left unpainted or finished to be virtually indistinguishable from the original piece.
Clearing and Staining
Some vertebrates are too small to be skeletonized by traditional bone-cleaning methods. In this case, we use alcian-alizarin double staining, which can also be used to document the development of the skeleton in larger animals. During this chemical process, tissues undergo enzymatic digestion, after which the specimen is double-stained in blue (cartilage) and a deep red (bone) which allows for up-close examination of the skeletal pieces. This technique, dating back to the early 20th century is still widely used today. In addition to its usefulness in research, it has been the object of public interest and has featured in numerous exhibitions in recent year due to its aesthetic appeal.