The Turtle Project
Received an email from a lady wanting to assemble a sea turtle
skeleton, and I sent her what illustrations I had - End of story. . . .   

Until. . .
In the spring of 2011 I received another email from this same person
asking, essentially, if she showed up in Alaska with the turtle
skeleton, would there be a time I could articulate it or help her
articulate it? It was going to be a busy summer for me, but I had one
week in August that could conceivably work.

I wasn't totally confident I would want to invite a total stranger
to work with me for a week. While I've never had a disastrous project
due to personality issues, there is always a first time. After hearing
how attached this person  was to those bones (this was her baby),
combined with her determination to get the skeleton
assembled, I invited her to come.
Joanie Sarno with her baby
a loggerhead sea turtle skeleton.
The Boneman was allowed to hold it. .
.once.
Joanie Sarno, a science teacher from New Jersey, made arrangements, showed up, and in
five extended days, we got the turtle skeleton assembled.

This had to be the most difficult skeleton I've ever worked on! The bones were weird. Many of the pieces did
not match anything I am familiar with  in any other animal skeletons I have done! Some of the bones  float -  
other bone sections articulate to each other but it wasn't obvious how they attached to the rest of the skeleton!

The upper shell was composed of about 45 pieces. Some of those pieces fastened to 4 - 6 other bones. Some
of the big shell sections were warped and a few pieces were totally missing. Joanie had fabricated many of the
missing pieces ahead of time, others were sculpted during the assembly. It helped a lot that Joanie had become
so intimately familiar with the individual bones. She had previously made a good attempt at assembling this on
her own before giving up and taking it back apart.

When the turtle (which we keyed out to be a loggerhead sea turtle) was completed, we took it to the bookstore
where I work, and it immediately attracted a crowd. One observer asked, with all seriousness, if we were going
to let it go on the beach. . .No . . . But we did take it for a romp on an Alaskan beach before we crated it up to
be sent back to New Jersey where it will be displayed in Joanie's school. The turtle is swimming on display at
the William Davies Middle School in Mays Landing, New Jersey.
Joanie did an extremely good job working on this turtle skeleton (for which she has a federal permit for
educational purposes) considering that many of the pieces were missing. May enthusiasm like hers never end!

This was my main bone project of that summer (2011). Alaskan summers are short and intense. With extended
daylight hours and cool temperatures, Alaskans work and play hard in the summers, knowing that winters here
are as long and dark as the summers are short and light.

This is the second sea turtle I've worked on. The first being a green sea turtle, that landed on a beach in Homer,
Alaska, after coming North in a bubble of warm water during an El Nina year. That turtle skeleton (done as a
senior project by a Homer High School student) is currently on display in the Pratt Museum here in Homer.

If anyone has a complete, unarticulated sea turtle skeleton---Let's talk! I would consider donating my time to
assemble it, in exchange for using it as a subject for purposes of writing a manual for the articulation of a sea
turtle skeleton. They are world-class, cool skeletons and extremely challenging to put together. . .and hopefully,
I'm not done with them yet.
THE BONEMAN.COM
Step by step guides for the
preparation and articulation of
animal skeletons.
BY LEE POST (a.k.a. Boneman)
TheBoneman.com  copyright 2005 by Lee Post                                                      Illustrations copyright  by Lee Post. All Rights Reserved                                                                        Merry Web Designs copyright 2005
THIS SITE LAST UPDATED: February 20, 2016   
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