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My wife did this as a PhD student in Animal Science, along with a fellow grad student. Only her skeleton was that of a draft horse — she mainly wanted the skull. It took place on the hill in back of the lab building and used a fire, an enormous cauldron, and a canoe paddle.

I can only imagine what undergrads wandering by thought. But we still have the horse skull in a tupperware in the basement.

She teaches comparative animal anatomy now. For a few years she kept a colony of flesh-eating beetles in her lab for cleaning skeletons. They were delivered by FedEx — yes, you can order flesh-eating beetles online. Unfortunately the box had a puncture, and beetles were coming out. The FedEx guy who delivered it sprinted into her office, threw the box on the desk and sprinted out again without stopping to ask for a signature. I wonder why...

It would have been too tempting to sing this:


I wonder if you could use an anthill for this work. Put the carcass in a cage of some sort so it doesn't get scattered and put the cage near an anthill. Come back a month later and the cage should have nothing but bones.

I'm not an expert, I but I don't recall ants being used for the cleaning of bones. That's usually the job of beetles or fly maggots.

In any case, I found this post [1] about the various ways to clean animal bones. Interesting reading.

[1] http://www.jakes-bones.com/p/how-to-clean-animal-bones.html

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