Finally, at the start of this month, I deemed the maceration to be finished. I removed the remaining bits of tissue (which was not a pleasant endeavor), soaked the skull in peroxide, then set it aside to dry. Like everything before, Coyote's skull proved to be quite the puzzle:
Besides having to deal with a whole array of loose teeth, the back of the skull was in pieces – fractured when the coyote was struck by an automobile. Some of the fragments are still missing, and despite searching for them in the backyard, I was unable to recover them. Rebuilding the skull was another challenge; some of the pieces refused to fit back together just right, as the bone had cracked and buckled from the collision.
After some initial frustration, however, I was able to reassemble Coyote's skull. Seeing it (mostly) whole, for the first time, was pretty amazing.
This coyote was a healthy, mature individual. Her sagittal crest is well-developed, some of the sutures on her rostrum are fused, and her teeth are strong, white, and slightly dulled from some years of use. The only faults I could find with the skull are related to the collision: her auditory bullae are missing, and a few teeth are smashed, which probably happened when her head hit the pavement:
I have one other complete coyote skull, purchased at a powwow last spring, and it's interesting to note the differences between the two. The purchased skull is much smaller, belonging to a juvenile animal; the sagittal crest is less prominent and none of the sutures are fused.
The rest of Coyote's skeleton is still outside. I'll likely be cleaning the bones soon, before colder weather sets in.