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Max-fossils

Conserving fossil bones safely

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Max-fossils

Hi all,

 

Yesterday I went to the Zandmotor, and I brought back a couple of bones from there (namely an awesome big mammal tooth). I left them tonight just in the living room so that they could dry, but when I came back this morning I had an unpleasant surprise: many of the pieces of bone had started to become white (as seen in the first picture), and the big tooth has started to decompose (as in there are constantly small crumbs of the tooth that are falling off; you can see small black spots next to the tooth in the picture, those are some of those crumbs). I am very worried about this, and wouldn't want my fossils to get damaged. Can anyone tell me how to keep them safely? As in what are some of the best conservation methods? The bones were found on a sandy beach, so I think that salt has a role in this...

 

Please help fast!

 

Happy Easter,

 

Max

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Max-fossils
16 minutes ago, LordTrilobite said:

Since they are from the Zandmotor, they come from the North Sea. So there's a lot of salt in the fossils. The salt is breaking them apart when they dry. You'll have to desalinate them to get rid of most of the salt. Soak them in fresh water for a while. The longer the better, like a number of weeks or a month. Refresh the water every day. When you take them out, dry them very slowly. This might solve the problem. Or the fossils could still break apart on their own after a week, or after 30 years. If the fossils are still fragile after this process you might want to seal them. wood glue is commonly used for this. Make a mix of wood glue and water to make it less viscous. This will make a nice strong coat on the outside and help protect it from breaking apart further.

 

I haven't seen any whitening before from North Sea fossils though.

Alright, thank you so much!!! And I just realized one of my fossils already broke in two... Should I stick it back together with some kind of glue? If yes, then what kind? And do I immediately put it in the water, or do I have to wait with that one?

 

Thanks again,

 

Max

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LordTrilobite

Yes put it in water right away. Glueing comes later.

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Max-fossils
22 hours ago, LordTrilobite said:

Since they are from the Zandmotor, they come from the North Sea. So there's a lot of salt in the fossils. The salt is breaking them apart when they dry. You'll have to desalinate them to get rid of most of the salt. Soak them in fresh water for a while. The longer the better, like a number of weeks or a month. Refresh the water every day. When you take them out, dry them very slowly. This might solve the problem. Or the fossils could still break apart on their own after a week, or after 30 years. If the fossils are still fragile after this process you might want to seal them. wood glue is commonly used for this. Make a mix of wood glue and water to make it less viscous. This will make a nice strong coat on the outside and help protect it from breaking apart further.

 

I haven't seen any whitening before from North Sea fossils though.

Alright, I took all your tips and put the fossils in a small tub full of water, as such:

image.thumb.jpeg.e66d708707a10ccb3f49f407e26d01a0.jpeg

(Btw, is that too much fossils in one tub, or is it fine like this?)

 

Anyways this morning I had an unpleasant surprise. After leaving the rhino tooth approximately 20 hours in the tub, I discovered that it had lost many more crumbs! I am sure that all the crumbs come from the tooth, because none of the other bones lose anything, even if I hit them softly. Do you know how I can prevent this tooth from decomposing like this? 

image.thumb.jpeg.e0cb1f95ebef48d33e937d24e33d2efc.jpeg

 

Best regards,

 

Max

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LordTrilobite

Teeth are notoriously more difficult than just bones. But I have limited experience with desalinating fossils. It's best to ask at fossiel.net as there are plenty of members there that have much more experience with this.

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Max-fossils
2 hours ago, LordTrilobite said:

Teeth are notoriously more difficult than just bones. But I have limited experience with desalinating fossils. It's best to ask at fossiel.net as there are plenty of members there that have much more experience with this.

Thank you. Today I spoke with Martijn Guliker, one of the paleontologists at Naturalis, who you apparently sometimes work with; and he held the fossil in his hand and told me in detail what to do. He also said that there were maybe too many fossils in one tub, so I'm gonna separate them in more tubs. 

 

But thanks anyways so much for all the help!

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Bguild

Piggy backing off this topic... I understand it is proper practice to desalinate bones found in/near the ocean, but what about plant imprints and trace fossils found along the coast? I have a handful of plant imprints from the coastline. Is there any need to soak my shale plates in fresh water?

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