Skeletons in the closet: time to give human bones acquired by health practitioners for educational purposes the respect they deserve

Jon Cornwall, Sabine Hildebrandt and Thomas Champney
Med J Aust 2022; 217 (7): . || doi: 10.5694/mja2.51704
Published online: 3 October 2022

To the Editor: The concepts presented by Coman and colleagues1 parallel international trends within anatomical societies, where attitudes on human remains used for educational purposes are under scrutiny.2 Illuminating issues around legacy collections, and pressing for further clarity, transparency and appropriate cultural and ethical solutions, is important for the proper treatment of these precious resources. It is also necessary given recent events that have raised concerns within the public about how human remains and anatomical collections are treated under the guise of education.3 We strongly support the points made by Coman et al around development of repatriation policies for privately held bones, but we respectfully suggest additional considerations.

  • 1 Centre for Early Learning in Medicine, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand
  • 2 Harvard University, Boston, MA, USA
  • 3 University of Miami, Miami, FL, USA


Competing interests:

No relevant disclosures.


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