Lots of travel, and work on Castoroides and the Fossil Insect Collaborative, has disrupted some of our other work in the Paleo lab, but we’re finally starting to get back to some other projects. One of these is our effort to reconstruct the skull of “Buttercup“, a baby baleen whale from Carmel Church.
About 90% of Buttercup’s skull is modeled, based on our estimates of what a juvenile specimen of Diorocetus should look like after scaling down from adult specimens. We made our last tweaks to the cranium a couple of months ago (the light gray areas are recent modifications), and now we’re preparing to make molds of the model so that we can produce cast copies.
We’ll be using a two-part, thin-wall mold, with the pour spout located at the anterior tip of the cranium There’s no loss of detail from placing the pour spout there, since the rostrum is entirely modeled; all the original bone is from the back of the skull. Even though Buttercup was a young, small whale, the cranium is still 3 quarters of a meter long, so it takes a lot of clay to form the base for the mold. It’s going to take 25-30 pounds of clay to prepare for molding, and we anticipate 4-5 gallons of silicone for the complete mold. I’m hoping to complete the mold for the cranium within the next few weeks.