In the field of human osteology, many people with academic backgrounds find themselves at odds with private collectors. Academics argue the private collectors hoard resources, monetize human remains, and many other concerns.
While it is a contentious issue, I would like to offer my opinion on the matter.
Private collectors fill a gap in the preservation of human osteology. Whether or not people approve of human osteology, it exists, it has a purpose, and needs to be preserved for future generations to learn from. Due to the lack of new medical osteology being provided for the continuation of medical research, we must treat the existing pool of bones as precious. Private collectors step up to fill a need that institutions currently cannot. Due either to lack of funding or lack of space, many of these pieces exist in the public market. By collecting human osteology, private individuals are ensuring the survival of it. Human osteology is not inexpensive, it is a costly endeavor, and very few people look at these items as disposable. By taking in these items, private collectors are making sure that these pieces will survive.
Bones live on long after us. Medical osteology is a teaching tool that generation after generation can learn from. Until all medical osteology can be purchased by museums, universities, and other centers of learning, private collectors will have a place in the preservation of it.