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Duration:02:01
Uploaded:2012-12-11
Last sync:2018-05-11 05:50
There's more where this came from if you're interested.
Emily: Birds on sticks!

Hank: How do you keep them preserved?

Emily: You need to make an incision and remove the whole internal body cavity, which is all just one big enclosed unit. It's got this great connective tissue. It's like taking a sock off of your foot 'cause you invert the whole skin up until the skull, crack the skull in half, remove the brain with a very sophisticated tool called the brain scoop, revert the skin, stuff it with cotton, put some wire in it, stick the stick in it, and um, that's about it. The ones dating before the 1960's were preserved with arsenic as well.

Hank: '78 so we're good.

Emily: You still might want to wash your hands before you go to lunch.
Do you know what this is?

Hank: That is a vertebra.

Emily: Yes

Hank: Of a very large thing. Is it a, is it a cetacean?

Emily: Yeah! I don’t know the exact one. It’s some kind of porpoise, um, but it’s the entire cervical vertebrae column. And so it’s like this is…

Hank: Ohhh. So it’s all…, yeah.

Emily: You know I showed you that human one and it was pretty..., but they’re all compacted together. These are all different separate bones. But they don’t need to have a lot of mobility side to side of their heads.
So you can take a skin and you have it all the way until it’s just attached by the nose. So it’s really weird to see this, like, weird skeletal thing and I’m… I mean I’m skinning a mink today so maybe you can see that. Like why do mustelids and members of the skunk family get nematodes? This is sign of a nematode infection. So a nematode is a parasite that comes in through the sinuses and it makes these lesions on the brain and I imagine it does not feel very good.

Michael: There’s a really interesting smell coming out of this.

Emily: Hmm. It’s not just the skunk smell. It’s probably, like, preservation tissue and the fact that it, you’re in a museum with 21,000 dead things.

Hank: It’s a little musty.

Michael: It’s not a terrible smell.

Emily: It’s like your grandma’s attic.

Michael: It’s just really interesting.

Hank: Yeah, it’s like my grandma’s attic times two.

Michael: Is it about two grandma’s attics in here?

(Laughing)