I dreamed of flesh eating beetles and mortifying tissue and woke with the sense memory of the smell of decay.
I blame the Turdus migratorius from yesterday. It wasn’t his fault, poor little robin, that one of the students found him dead on the road and collected him for the lab. It certainly wasn’t his fault that a skilled graduate student showed me how to skin and eviscerate a little songbird using his carcass. We recorded data for science and the permits, and plucked and skinned and removed blobs from inside him using forceps. We wrapped him in cheesecloth (did the cheesecloth company ever imagine such a use?) and put him in the lab fridge to dry out for a couple of days. It made me think of dry aging a nice roast. Might have to hit the butcher later.
The dermestid tank, the flesh eating beetle habitat, was right next to us while we worked on the bird. Did they watch us prepare their supper? The larvae will creep through the cheesecloth and snack like crazy when we put the robin in there on Saturday. Just think, while you are enjoying your Saturday morning coffee and pastries before tackling the weekend chores, the dermestid larvae will be tying on bibs and settling in for the smorgasborg.
We’ll have a nice clean skeleton in a week or so. That American Robin, number UBZA-002, will contribute to federally funded research about mutually impactful human and environmental relationships for generations. He’ll visit schools as part of a science class lecture about archaeology. He’ll teach graduate students about bird skeletons. He is transforming from performing flight with wings through physical space to causing flights of mind through ideas and hypotheses. Is that some kind of bird rapture?
The WideEyedSpouse won’t let me keep the dermestid tank here in the WideEyedHousehold. He says keeping flesh eating beetles in the basement is like housing a zombie. “If I fall down or something when I’m working out, next thing you know my leg is gone,” he argues. “Er…” I have no response.