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Cranium, historical collection

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Our Virtual Museum includes three Beauchene skulls, also commonly referred to as ‘exploded skulls’ due to their appearance, prepared during the 19th century by the Parisian company Maison Tramond, renowned for its anatomical specimens (osteological pieces and wax models). Named after the French anatomist and surgeon Edmé François Chauvot de Beauchêne (ca. 1780-1830), these disarticulated skulls were meant to serve as anatomical teaching tools, as they allowed the study of the 8 cranial and 14 facial bones in relation to each other. The Beauchene skulls are usually from young individuals, as cranial sutures close with the advancement of age, making their separation difficult. Requiring extensive skill and technical knowledge to make, these skulls have the bones mounted on adjustable metal frames on a wooden base, with the bones held apart by metal wires and fittings - Dr Alexandra Ion

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Skull with marking of scalp vessels

 

Description: Adult skull on to which have been added in blue paint the superficial blood vessels.

 

Dissected skull demonstrating the blood supply to the head and neck. Bone with wax. Mid to late 19th century. Maison Tramond.

Adult skull. The cortical bone on the maxillae and mandible has been removed in order to expose the dental roots, the blood supply and innervation system, as well as the spongy bone (here shown in pink). The infraorbital nerves are also visible, as well as the blood supply to the face on the right side. The blood supply to the head and neck is a complex system, the face being a richly vascularised area. The gums are modelled out of pink wax. The frontal squama (except the median area) and the left parietal bone have also been removed in order to expose the internal sagittal sulcus and meningeal grooves- the bone structures which house the blood vessels that supply/drain blood from the brain. The specimen is labelled in blue ink along the sagittal suture: ‘N Rouppert a Paris’.           

Beauchene skull

Bone with brass connections and wires. Mid to late 19th century. Maison Tramond.

Child skull (with label marked in ink '1 yr 18mo'). Skull separated on the suture lines and joints in 13 parts, demonstrating the anatomical relations between the cranial and facial bones. The cortical bone layers on the left side of the mandible are cut out in order to expose the permanent dentition. In every child’s jaw the permanent dentition is present, slowly forming and waiting to erupt (starting around 7 years old). The dentition is a good indicator for age estimation, and is used for this purpose by forensic anthropologists and osteologists. The specimen is in almost perfect condition, with minor stains from the metal wires.

Beauchene skull

Bone with wax, brass connections and wires. Mid to late 19th century. Maison Tramond

Description: Young adult skull. Skull separated on suture lines and joints, demonstrating the anatomical relations between the cranial and facial bones. The anterior cortical bone on the maxillae and mandible has been removed in order to expose the inferior and superior alveolar nerves, the mental foramen and the roots of the permanent dentition. The mental foramen, hosting the mental nerve, is an important landmark in dentistry. The infraorbital nerves are also visible, as well as the blood supply to the face on the right side. The gums are modelled in pink wax.

Beauchene skull

Bone with wax, brass connections and wires. Mid to late 19th century. Maison Tramond.

Description: Young adult skull. Skull separated along the suture lines and joints, demonstrating the anatomical relations between the cranial and facial bones. The temporal bones are missing. The cortical bone on the anterior part of the maxillae and mandible (jaw) has been cut in order to expose the inferior and superior alveolar nerves and the roots of the permanent dentition. The infraorbital nerves are also visible. The left maxillary sinus exposed (N.B. seen through area of post-mortem damage). It is in good condition, with minor dark stains from dust, and some damage to the left maxilla.