Hyde Park Mastodon Shipped to the University of Michigan for Molding, Study

In late February, 2003, the Hyde Park Mastodon was shipped to Alberta, Canada for mounting. The skeleton returned to Ithaca, NY in May 2003, and is now a major part of our Quaternary exhibit in Museum of the Earth.

In August, 2002, the remains from the Hyde Park mastodon were shipped to Michigan, where they were studied by Dan Fisher at the U-M Museum of Paleontology in Ann Arbor. View their website High quality scientific molds were made of the animal before being shipped off to Alberta for mounting. See the pictures below to learn how to mold an Ice Age elephant!

Photos by Mike Cherney, University of Michigan Museum of Paleontology

Initial prep work on a vertebrae

Work study student at U-M in the initial stages of creating the mold of a vertebrae. He is building a ridge out of the clay which will contain the polyurethane rubber when it is applied.

A tooth being prepped for a silicone pour. Silicone gives the greatest resolution of detail of any material that is being used in the molding process.

This is a lumbar vertebrae from the Hyde Park mastodon that is half completed. Polyurethane rubber will be applied next (the white), then a fiberglass mold (the pink).

Because of the complexity of the shoulder blade (scapula), it needs to be molded using three pieces. Here, Mike Cherney is preparing the second piece of this mold for the polyurethane rubber stage.

Polyurethane rubber on top of a fiberglass cloth. Once everything hardens, the outside clay will be removed, the mold will be opened, and the bone removed. Then, the mold will be ready for casting.

Mike Cherney (left) and William Sanders (right), both of the Research Wing of the U-M Museum of Paleontology.