There are 22 bones that make up the human skull! Including the smallest bone in the body (The stapes!)
To get an exploded skull, you need to get all 22 bones. The best way to see all of these different bones is to take the skull apart. There are a couple of ways to do this. Some scientists use chemicals to separate the skull at the sutures, while other skulls were dropped (accidentally by students or doctors over the years) and came apart at the sutures.
What happens after the skull is separated into 22 different pieces?
Some medical companies such as Clay Adams would display these 22 separate bones with hardware so each bone can be viewed. This gives the skull an “exploded” look, hence the name.
Being knowledgeable enough to arrange all these bones in the correct way, and install hardware takes a very skilled individual. This combined with the difficulties in getting a skull separated into all 22 separate pieces makes exploded skulls rare and expensive.
Did you know you can also get an exploded animal skull? Unlike humans, when animals are born the bones in their skulls are unfused, meaning they are completely separated.