3D prep of Late Cretaceous sturgeon

THREE-DIMENSIONAL PREPARATION OF A LATE CRETACEOUS STURGEON FROM MONTANA

Vanbeek, Constance
Field Museum of Natural History
Chicago, IL.

The Cretaceous fossil record of sturgeons (Acipenseridae), while plentiful, has not been known for well-preserved or complete sturgeons. The poor quality and fragmentary nature of the known material have made them of limited value to studies on the comparative anatomy and phylogenetic significance of fossil sturgeons. When an unusually well preserved specimen of a new, undescribed taxon arrived at the Field Museum on loan from the Museum of the Rockies, it presented an opportunity to fully prepare the most complete fossil sturgeon yet known.

Because the specimen was so unique in its completeness, it was necessary to fully expose and then disarticulate all elements for research. This entailed removing previous consolidants that had been applied for stabilization of the fossil; and preparing elements in such a way that high-resolution images, both photographic and illustrative, would reveal the fine details. An important consideration was strengthening the fragile bones yet still being able to disarticulate them while undergoing this very thorough and detailed preparation. That dichotomy proved to be a persistent theme throughout the preparation of this remarkable specimen.

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Last updated: March 16, 2018

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