Beauchene or "Exploded" Skull


Beauchene or "Exploded" Skull

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Title: Beauchene or "Exploded" Skull
Abstract: Beauchene Preparations

Beauchene mounts are created primarily for anatomical studies. Difficult and costly to produce, they are usually prepared only on request and are rarely available. Pictured above is a adult specimen mounted on an adjustable and detachable frame. Although Beauchene (or "Exploded") skulls made of plastic are available from anatomical supply houses, the one pictured above is real bone and in perfect condition. All the cranial bones are separated and mounted on their own hardware.

Prepared in the Beauchene (or Bauchaine) technique, this type of anatomical specimen is completely disarticulated and mounted on a stand to demonstrate approximate normal relative positions of the cranial bones. The number and configurations of individual bones are emphasized, while the relationships with other organ systems in this area of the body are de-emphasized.

Skulls of moderate size are best suited for this process, which is why many that are created from human and other mammal specimens are not full-grown adults of the species. The reason for this is that, at this age, the sutures in the skull are already established, yet not infused.

Martin Hildebrand's Anatomical Preparations (University of California Press, 1968) describes the following "recipe" for creating a model in the Beauchene technique:

"Clean the skull meticulously, bleaching it if desired, and degreasing it if necessary. The skull is then boiled or macerated until the cranial sutures are loosened. At this point the skull bones can be disarticulated by hand while the skull is wet. If the cranial bones are difficult to separate, the braincase should be further soaked until disarticulation is possible. Once the bones are disarticulated, they are dried and mounted according to the desired design of the creator. Wires or small strips of celluloid are used to space the bones, and individual bones or assembled units of the skull are supported on a wooden base by heavy wires."

Image - Beauchene or "Exploded" Skull. Bone with brass connections. Wooden base. Late 19th century. A preparation of a normal skull, the bones of which have been disarticulated and mounted in juxtaposition to show normal relationships.

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