Log in

No account? Create an account
11 June 2008 @ 07:10 pm
Strange Answers - "Where Can I Buy A Real Human SKull?"  

unearthed skeleton 2, originally uploaded by Boju.

As part of Dapper Cadaver's on going quest to answer all the strange questions we receive, today I tackle a biggie. The selling of real human remains.
You might think it odd, but I get asked for human remains a couple times a day, and every couple of months someone asks if I'm interested in buying some human remains that they have, for some reason.

Here's the short answer: No. No I don't sell, No I don't buy and No I can't help anyone find anyone who does. The laws on who can legally buy and sell human remains are fairly complex, so the rule of thumb to go by is this - buying, selling, or owning human remains is illegal

That's pretty easy. "Why is it illegal?" I'm often asked. Well, because the sources of human remains are, at some point, living humans. The vast majority of bones "on the market" don't come from organ donors, they come from China and Indian, where even licensed sources are under frequent allegations of grave robbing and dealing in prisoner remains. The rest of the bones that are being sold are archaeological theft, contemporary grave robbing, war trophies, criminal evidence, and a mixed bag of specimens passed from hand to hand for so long the origins, legitimate or not, are long since lost. The burden of proof is on the owner - if you can prove you bought your bones from a licensed medical supply house great, if not, you're looking at a range of allegations up to and including accessory to murder. Even the famous Gunther Von Hagens of Body Worlds fame has gotten in trouble with the law for having illegal cadavers

Other anatomy stores, such as Evolution: Natural History, and Maxilla and Mandible, have gotten in trouble with the law and heavily finedfor dealing in endangered animal remains and/or human bones. At Dapper Cadaver we only sell animal skulls of common livestock like pig, sheep, and steer, and US game animals, like deer. All other animal bones, both pet and exotic, are replica. Even our exotic taxidermy is synthetic. All our human remains are replica. We divide skulls into 3 categories - Halloween or budget is the lowest quality, medical quality is anatomically correct standard quality. Museum quality is the closest you can get to legally owning a human skull. These are props that have been molded off of real human skull specimens on loan from museums. The anatomical detail and realism is amazing.

I have been a bone collector and a nature lover all my life. I urge anyone who's interested in buying bones to buy replicas. It's the only ethical choice. Otherwise you are supporting or encouraging a black market in endangered species, fossil and archaeological treasures, and human life.

Novanglusnovanglus on June 12th, 2008 02:20 am (UTC)
I took human anatomy at a medical school some years ago, and at the beginning of the term each student was given a wooden box with an assortment of bones. We were told we could check the box out for study, and keep it as long as we liked, but that we must *never* open it up in the subway on the way home.

[redacted]elsewhereangel on June 12th, 2008 03:25 am (UTC)
Katherinelost_ligeia on June 12th, 2008 04:40 am (UTC)
I'm just beginning to build a collection for my wonder cabinet, so thank you for this information. Good to know.
zagzagaelzagzagael on June 12th, 2008 03:06 pm (UTC)
Twenty-five years ago, when I was in Art School we could pick up as many human skulls as we wanted from a supplier in SF. They were Indian and ranged in price from $125 to $200 depending upon teeth. I wish I had kept one but they all went into numerous art projects that were eventually sold. I do have a replica human skull that I love madly. Madly.
medic19965 on July 19th, 2010 03:06 pm (UTC)
Human Remains
The Human Tissues act in the Uk states that you can trade in Human remains as long as they are over 100 years old. Each item must have some form of provenance although it is possible to own but not sell humain remains under 100 years as long as they are accompanied by a receipt of gifting. This is where no trade/ swop/ transaction or barter has taken place within the change of ownership. The Law has been written this way to allow museums and teaching institutions to exchange/ sell off teaching specimens or historical artefacts enabling further education for future generations. Private collections owned before 2004 are safe within the new laws here...unfortunately there are those that seek to bend the law and those who seek to interprate the law with ethical and religeous views.
Both of these are the ones that seem to get you into trouble. Read the act and it is very self explanitary. Everything over 100 years old with provenance in paperwork and you must check the provenance to the best of your ability... is fine...this is only in the uk and Europe at the moment. The USA has completely different laws state to state. Export of certain human remains that are protected are listed. These include aboriginal/moari moko heads etc/american indian,etc certain other remains are sometimes classed as national treasures...these are the grey areas interprited by individuals to your peril...check the laws in your state and check the provenance is documented properly...other than that buy plastic copies...ohh...by the way human beings are not on any endangered list and the market value for a skull is far less than alot of animals( china still has an export liscence for Human Bones.
medic19965 on July 19th, 2010 03:34 pm (UTC)
book of adventure and skulls collected
for those of you who want to preveiw this book for free...have a peep and read....Some incredible artefacts!

ext_324305 on November 17th, 2010 05:34 am (UTC)
real human skulls
check the website