A Procedure for Differential Staining of Cartilage and Bone in Whole Formalin-Fixed Vertebrates Academic Article uri icon


  • This paper describes a modification of the Simons and Van Horn (1971) procedure for rendering cartilage blue, bone red, and soft tissue translucent or transparent in whole vertebrate specimens. Alcian blue and alizarin red S are used to stain cartilage and bone respectively. In our procedure formalin is used as a fixative. This is a significant modification because formalin is the common fixative for museum specimens. This clearing and staining procedure is thus readily applicable to comparative studies in anatomy, embryology and systematic zoology.

publication date

  • January 1976