Is it legal to sell or purchase human bones?

I was under the vague impression that it was illegal, but I came across this site:

that sells human skulls.
I realize that finding a web site that sells something isn’t ironclad evidence that selling that particular something is legal; but I was never sure of my initial impression that selling human bones is illegal to begin with.

Anyone know for sure?

It’s ok to own them, but you’d better be able to prove where you got them. Med schools have lots and they buy them. Other scholars and interested bystanders have them, too. I’ve been told that no matter how good the replica, they are not as detailed as actual bone, so people like anthropologists, and those in forensics need the real deal to study.
They are QUITE the expensive coffee table decoration though.

Ah, Rev, those would be quite useful for the newest sermons, wouldn’t they?

Yeah, its probably legal as lots of doctors offices & schools use them.

After looking at the website, it’s apparent that this isn’t serving the academic community. These must be some creepy folks. I might be concerned about his/her sources, as some of these look old and may have been “liberated” from the local cemetary.

When was the last time anybody saw a skeleton hanging up in a doctor’s office, besides on MASH?

Doctors posess & disrtribute many things that you must be licensed to have. If Revtim is a doctor, he knows this already. If Revtim isn’t a doctor, the fact that doctors can get hold of human skulls does not help him much.

I am pretty sure that both doctors and schools must have synthetic replicas, as they are mainly for demonstration purposes.

I found a web page here that sells real human skeletons. Price? A mere $4995.00. You can get just a skull for $1595.00.

If you don’t mind a second class skull that is missing a third of its teeth (insert your favorite West Virginia joke here) & has some minor stains & discolorations, you can get one for as little as $759.95.

Ya think the public school system can afford that?

I notice they also sell a skull case for storage & travel. I see some interesting times in store the next time I go to the airport!

I used to teach Human Anatomy as a grad student at University, and we had a couple of real skeletons as well as skulls and a box of various bones. Although that was 20 years ago, I doubt that that has changed much.

I also see that Attrayant’s web site offers “non-medical grade human skulls, suitable for decorative and ritual purposes” for a mere $595.

I heard at the time I was teaching that the source of most of these skeletons was India (presumably unclaimed bodies of beggars, etc.). I don’t know if that’s actually true.

I don’t think there are laws on the books that prohibit the possession of human remains per se, just the desecration of graves or “abuse” of a dead body.

Our Anatomy instructor told our class that the bones in the brown box were real human bones that were so expensive because of all the treatment they had to have and that the expolded skull was over twice as expensive as the closed skull because of all the detail work to preserve the suture lines and hyoid. The synthetic bones were much different than the real ones, heavier and smoother. The college had several synthetic articulated skelatons on campus as well as bone boxes, but we had no fully articulated human skelaton except for the preserved fetal one, and that was the personal property of our instructor, under glass in his office.

IIRC, there is no federal law prohibiting buying/selling/possessing human bones provided they are NOT the remains of Indians. (Native Americans) See US CODE: Title 18 Chapter 53
However, some states may have laws that are more restrictive.

As for the de-meating process, I saw a thing on Discovery where they use flesh eating beetles to get all the tissue off the bones. Also it said that most of the skeletons came from Asia. (IIRC)

BTW, this has been asked here before :smiley: , but I am too lazy to go find it for you.
…ok, here I found it for ya. It should answer all your questions.

My 9th grade biology class had a fully articulated skeleton…we called it Bob.

Recently I watched a special about Penn and Teller, which included a tour of Penn Jillette’s house, where he has a full human skeleton in his office. He said that when he bought it, he had to practically go through a form of counseling before they’d make the sale: “Now, you do know that these are real human bones? And that some of your friends might be upset or alarmed?” Penn’s response was something like, “Screw my friends if they don’t love the skeleton!”. But anyway, thought that was an amusing little story…

Thanks for the info folks.

And thanks for the link to the previous thread Bear_Nenno. I only searched for threads with subject having bones or skull.

Looks like my original link has the best prices!

Well see, that’s not good enough. What I did was rather simple: First I put “Bear_Nenno” in the ‘search by user field’. Then, under subject I put in “bones 18”. Bones because it was about bones, and 18 because I remember posting the US law which, though I did not recall the exact section number, I knew it would definiely have the number 18 in it. :slight_smile: Then just select to search in only GQ and ‘Any Date’- voila!! It was the third one down.
Geez, I don’t see what’s so hard about this :rolleyes:

Okay. It’s legal to own them, and if you’re the proprieter of a skull shop in Amsterdam it’s legal to sell them. It’s illegal to use them, but it’s illegal for the cops to search you. I mean, that’s a right the Amsterdam police don’t have.

(It’s been a while. Sorry. :slight_smile: )

So would you rub a mans skull?

There are exceptions - China, India, Louisiana (Im not kidding). And there are corner cases, like Native American artifacts within the USA.

But otherwise, yes it’s still legal. ebay banned all human bone sellers last year, but only by choice.

There are even new bone shops popping up now as a result, such as

I live in California…and bought a human femur (by mail.) I used to use it as a gavel for committee meetings. (We called it the bone of contention.)

I think they are legal only for the purposes of exhibitions, research and for studies and education.

Why? It’s legitimate and relevant, and I even explained why it is. What’s your problem, really? Do you just hate capitalism? Or do you hate legal bone sellers? Not that either answer legitimizes your complaint.

Spam is UNSOLICITED commercial promotion. This thread is all about legal bone ownership. A link to a legal shop dealing in that very subject matter, seems inoffensive and helpful. So why the hate?

After all the initial post itself contained a link to a commercial vendor as an example of the author’s point.

I don’t think there is any hate but I also believe you that it isn’t Spam. It is just that this thread is almost 16 years (which also makes a good argument for updating it as well). You are new here and this is a moderated board. The Moderators will just look at the issue and see if your post broke any rules but I don’t know of any.

Some people are just sensitive to “zombie” threads that get updates that link to commercial sales of the items in question but that doesn’t mean that they are all prohibited or inappropriate here even for very old threads.