Jump to content
ParkerPaleo

White River Oligocene Prep - Leptictis

Recommended Posts

ParkerPaleo

I'm posting a current project in the hopes that it actually makes me finish it.  I have a tendency to start several projects and set them aside for years.  This Lepticitis was found in Wyoming in the late 90's.  The initial prep was done by someone else (unknown) before the specimen made it to my collection.  I've spent the last 5-6 hours under a scope removing glue, I would have almost surmised it was dipped in penetrant. It appears to have some abrasion damage as well, see the dorsal view of the skull above the orbits.  I also took the opportunity to clean out foramen and do other various cleaning with pins and needles to get it to the state it is in now.  Wish I'd though to get a pic before I started.

 

Thanks to @jpc, I have some excellent photos of another Leptictis to base reconstruction off of.  I'll post some more photos as the work progresses.

DSC00212.JPG

DSC00217.JPG

DSC00220.JPG

DSC00223.JPG

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Fossildude19

What a cool looking fossil! 

Thanks for posting it.

Can't wait to see it done!  :popcorn:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Tidgy's Dad

Very nice. 

I too look forward to the finished article. :popcorn::popcorn:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
jpc

I like that you can see the upper molars on this one.  All of mine are clenched-mouthed smilers.  

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
sharkdoctor

YUM! Great fossil!

I hope you post some pics of the process as well. Curious to see what you have in mind for prep and/or reconstruction.

The crushing and displacement in picture 3 is fascinating, BTW. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
ParkerPaleo

I'm going to try to be fairly light with the reconstruction.  I'm going to start with the lowers, fill in the gap on right side and repair the coronoid/edges of jaw.  Probably going to leave any cracked/chipped teeth as they are.  Will try my best to redo the zygomatic on the right as well, thinking I'll have to backfill slightly to support it but I'd like to match the opposite side if possible.  I haven't quite decided if I should fill in the cracks in the cranium and sagittal crests.  I'll make that decision after the jaws are done.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Randyw

Looking good! :popcorn:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Harry Pristis

 

For future search purposes, this is Leptictis sp. of the family Leptictidae.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
ParkerPaleo

This is setting currently but here is the first bit of putty.  This was the easier side so I chose it first, didn't think my fingers could stay out of the other side if I did them at the same time.  I'll do some light smoothing/shaping once it sets.

DSC00228.JPG

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
ParkerPaleo

Here's an excerpt regarding Leptictis from a short paper authored by Gil Parker, TJ Meehan, and myself (Tim Parker).  

 

 

Leptictids are an ancient group of insectivores from the time of dinosaurs.
They hunted the leaf-litter of forest floors for insects, plant matter,
and small vertebrates.  Their teeth are like other insectivores, such as
shrews, so a paleontologist can infer a similar diet of insects, small
vertebrates, and plant matter.  Sometimes, though, the fossil record gives
us direct evidence.  Leptictids from the famous Eocene Messel Quarry in
Germany have stomach remains of insect cuticle, bones, and plant matter.
Leptictids were very much like modern day elephant shrews in having long
snouts to rummage through the leaf litter, a similar body size range (large
species weighed over a pound), and bodies built for saltation (hopping).
Elephant shrews make zigzagging hops on all four feet to escape predators,
but it appears that Leptictis and most other leptictids had such short
forelimbs that they hopped using only their hindlimbs like kangaroo rats.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
ParkerPaleo
1 hour ago, Harry Pristis said:

 

For future search purposes, this is Leptictis sp. of the family Leptictidae.

 

 

Oops, I spelled horribly.  Edited the original title/post.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Ruger9a

Looks great so far....please keep us updated with your progress.  You have inspired me to drag out one of my old unprepped Oreodont skull "clump" purchases to see what actually inside.  The clumps used to be available everywhere years ago, now I rarely see them being offered.  If my clump turns out to be worthy, I'll post some photos as well.  Good luck.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Randyw
1 hour ago, Ruger9a said:

Looks great so far....please keep us updated with your progress.  You have inspired me to drag out one of my old unprepped Oreodont skull "clump" purchases to see what actually inside.  The clumps used to be available everywhere years ago, now I rarely see them being offered.  If my clump turns out to be worthy, I'll post some photos as well.  Good luck.

Oooooo Oreodont skulls! Now that’s near and dear to my heart! I just love prepping Oreodont skulls! I’ll be watching for your posts! 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
ParkerPaleo

The left mandible turned out well.  A light sanding/sculpting and it looks good.  This morning I filled the right mandible.  Tomorrow will be the zygomatic.  Progress!

 

To rebuild the coronoid, I made several thin 'snakes' of putty and then smoothed them together to build up the ridge.  Reminded me of playing with play-doh.

DSC00238.JPG

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Ruger9a

Looking good!!!!  I need to learn how to do that because one of my Oreodont skulls is complete EXCEPT for a lower left jaw section.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
ParkerPaleo
2 minutes ago, Ruger9a said:

Looking good!!!!  I need to learn how to do that because one of my Oreodont skulls is complete EXCEPT for a lower left jaw section.

I use Paleosculp by Paleobond for the putty though I am certain many other epoxies would work.  Just look for something with a long working time.  The set time for Paleosculp is ~24 hours.

 

If you are missing an entire jaw, I would suggest finding a donor specimen or finding a cast that is the right size/shape, then using putty at the edge of the cast to join it to your specimen.  Otherwise, build up the general shape of the part you are missing to create a foundation to build on.  Then do the finish work on top of the foundation.  Couple of things to note, real bone, has texture.  If you smooth putty with your finger, it will always appear like someone jammed clay into a specimen.  You need to apply some texture during the process to make it look natural.  This is why specimens get heavily painted/glued/rubbed with dust to disguise the reconstruction.  I like to lightly press a small piece of bone of the setting putty to put a bit of texture on it.  A stiff brush can also do this.  Lots of creative ways to do it depending on the texture you are matching.  Also, its easier to build up to the shape you need rather than grind it away.  Even if it takes a few passes of building/setting/build more.  Teeth are also difficult to sculpt entirely.  Filling a crack is one thing, but if you need an entire tooth, try to find a loose one that matches your specimen.  Reconstruction gets better the more you practice it as well.  Start with a few easy tasks and build up to doing something more difficult.

 

The first reconstruction I recall doing was on Titanothere pieces.  And then over time moving to smaller and smaller items.  

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Ruger9a

Wow, a lot of information, thanks.  Take a look at the photo, I am missing the small section of the middle of the right lower jaw, the part that has a few teeth.  I have the rest.  I must have purchased 3 dozen donor jaw sections, but none of them match the color of the bone or the teeth. 

After-R.JPG

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Ruger9a

This photo is when it was partially finished.  This is the before photo....

Before.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Ruger9a

In process photo.

After-All.JPG

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Randyw

Isn’t that a big piece of your missing jaw?....

AD546C83-000C-4478-AB2D-8D6AC4E603D1.jpeg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Ruger9a

I have the complete jaw except for the small section with 2 1/2 teeth.  The section you circled and the section above and to the right all belong to this fossil.  One of the donor sections I was trying to use is to the right - has some teeth. It was too wide to use.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Ruger9a

Trying to explain the location is a PAIN....  So, I decided to do the same thing you did.  The piece I'm missing is circled.

20191108_095651.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
ParkerPaleo

Have you considered just reconstructing the bone and leaving the teeth missing?

 

Are you leaving the matrix inside the lower jaws?  Could you remove some of the interior width from your donor piece?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Ruger9a

Yes I have.  I do have teeth that are the correct (exterior) color and size.  The inside of my Oreodont's teeth are pure white which is causing me the most problems as well as jaw bone thickness.  I really would rather have actual bone/teeth, if at all possible.  I don't think I'll give up on finding a suitable donor - yet.  Thanks for your response.

 

PS:  If I knew I could remove all the plaster & putty if/when I actually did find a suitable donor, I believe I would try it.  I am just not skilled enough with restoration to attempt it right now. Don't want to ruin it.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
ParkerPaleo

I'm trying to think of a good easily removable material.  I've used modeler's clay or bee's wax before in various applications, that would be easily removed.  Most everything else I have used is a very durable epoxy.  Plaster would come off somewhat easy but I'm not sure how easy it would be to work with.

 

Waiting til you have exactly everything you want is perfectly acceptable too.  There are plenty of projects I have not completed in 10, 20, even 30 years....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now


  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×