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. You quickly realize that it’s a human skull! Then you think to yourself, “WHAT THE HECK IS THIS DOING HERE?!


You’ve probably just discovered a vintage medical skull! Did you know that in the 1960’s it was mandatory for every medical student to own a half skeleton teaching set? As a result, there was 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 four major bone suppliers of the 20th century were: Adam Rouilly, Clay Adams, Somso, and Kilgore International. For almost 100 years these companies would supply the majority of the skeletal remains you see in the market today.

The majority of these skeletons came from India. But in 1985, India banned all exportation of human osteology. Because of this, the four major companies moved to high-quality casts and replicas. Despite there being no current production of human skeletal remains, there is no law preventing ownership, sale, or distribution of the bones in the US today. 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!