It’s a late summer afternoon, and you are clearing out your late grandmother’s closet. On the top shelf, you feel something. When you look up, you realize someone else is staring back at you. It’s a human skull.

How did that get there?

In all likelihood, you have just discovered a vintage medical skull! Up until the mid 1980’s, medical schools required students to purchase genuine bones for their education, much in the way modern students purchase textbooks. As a result, there were a myriad of companies that popped up to fuel the ever-growing demand for skeletons. Throughout the course of human existence, there has always been a need to study human osteology. The five major bone suppliers of the 20th century were: Adam, Rouilly, Clay Adams, Somso, Carolina Biological Supply Company, and Kilgore International. For almost 100 years these companies would supply the majority of the skeletal remains you see in the market today.

Each company sourced from different locations in Europe and Asia, but many bones were sourced from India. In 1984, India banned all exportation of human osteology, which drastically changed the market. Because of this, the five major companies moved to high-quality casts and replicas. Despite there being no major current production of human skeletal remains, there is no federal law preventing ownership, sale, or distribution of the bones in the US today, because this would make criminals out of average folks who have remnants of their education left in their homes. The only restrictions are on a state by state basis. Louisiana, Georgia, and Tennessee are the only states to have restrictions. So yes, it is completely legal to buy human bones in the US as long as you don’t live in those three states!

For this reason, we do not ship human remains to these three states, or internationally. Our focus remains in the United States, where we are based. This does not prevent people from Louisiana, Georgia, or Tennessee from purchasing our merch, literature section, or our jewelry collaboration. We encourage all JonsBones customers to familiarize themselves with their local laws before purchasing human osteology.