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interesting phone call

Discussion in 'Skulls and Skeletons' started by eurosbyRT, Jun 29, 2013.

  1. Wouter

    Wouter Member

    An interesting request indeed. If I were you I would ask the boy personally whether he wants to have his foot preserved this way. If he's not that enthousiastic and it seems more his dads wish, then don't do it. If dad does not let you speak with the boy, then don't do it either. If the boy really wants it himself, then you'll be doing a nice thing for an unfortunate kid. In that case I would have no problem doing it, including cleaning the bones.
    If so, ask him whether he wants it mounted like a trophy that cannot move, or flexible. For a flexible articulation you'll need to use visible wires and springs, but otherwise you can wire in internally without any wire visible from the outside. I myself articulated the hands and feet of an urang utan last year wired internally, and they look very nice.

  2. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    X2 on the above.

  3. antlerman

    antlerman NTA Life Member #0118

    This is about as intelligent as preserving ones foreskin, or fingernail clippings. But then again, the world has become a very strange place anymore. However, this is beyond weird. Someone needs to check dad's oil. I'd say he's at least a quart low.
  4. Megan :)

    Megan :) Well-Known Member


    I assumed it WAS the boy wanting it done. However, if it is the FATHER and not the son wanting this, then I think there is something wrong with it. For the record, I would also think it wierd to preserve the whole foot, but just the bones is kinda neat idea.
  5. Such things had happened before.
    Preserving an amputated limb is no more gross than putting your tonsils in a jar.
  6. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    Read that article. Other people did it for the Doctor and the arms previous owner does state that keeping it somewhat disturbed him but he was glad to have it so he could be buried with it. IE he wanted to be buried complete, not that he found the arm an item of interest.

    The problem in this case is a FATHER wanting to preserve the amputated, skeletonized limb of his son, a child. The motives behind this are questionable and there is some doubt that the child himself wants this done.
  7. I would do it. As a physical anthropologist and being married to one I have worked with so many human bones, I can't count them all. The first smell of sawing bone I ever had was when I cut the calvarium off the top of a human skull. Very different smell and not a pleasant one. That was on a specimen for teaching purposes.
    I would do the following.
    1. Have him fax or email the copy of the paperwork to show the foot is his or his son's in this case. (You don't want to do this for a psycho's trophy and he has power of attorney over his minor child)
    2. Ask why the foot was amputated (disease)
    3. Is the person in the same state?
    4. Look at the laws for transporting human body parts in state or between states. I would not doubt, they may need to be transported by someone with a funeral home license if they are not already preserved. They are either frozen or preserved in solution which would probably be alcohol.

    Other than that, use standard precautions of double gloves, face shield and mask while working with human flesh. This will prevent transfer of disease like hepetites, etc. If you are going to skin it, the skin will probably have to be cremated because of laws for potential disease. Then feed it to your beetles. I would not mascerate because of the problem with how to dispose of the leftover flesh.
    Degrease and whiten as usual. If you can do an internal articulation, that would be good. Copper wire is good for the articulation internal or external.
    If you are not familiar with human foot anatomy, definitely look up pictures of articulation of human feet. There are more bones there than you think and it is important to get them in the correct position. When having the beetles do the foot, keep it in a box so they don't drag the little toe phalangies out into their frass.
  8. I am almost positive you cannot work with human remains without a special license. Its a bio hazard, and unless you get written consent from a government official I wouldnt touch it.
  9. ossuaria

    ossuaria Ossuaria Jewelry

    X4 on everything Wouter said (needless to say).

    But if all that checks out, I would absolutely do it if I was convinced I could do the boy justice. That's an articulation that you seeeeeriously wouldn't want to botch. But as you have infinitely more experience than I do with these kinds of things: give it a go. That's a portfolio piece like no other.
  10. This post brings up a lot of interesting feelings and thoughts. I am not really sure how the legality is on this one or if it'd vary state to state the same way that actual possession of human bones does. I am guessing that the medical facility will treat it as medical waste and not give it back to him. I wanted to know if I could keep my wisdom teeth if they have to be removed someday and was told No by my dentist. I am pretty sure that it is because in NY, a person has to be authorized to own human bones. But is it illegal to keep your child's teeth that fall out naturally? Maybe yes because they are not produced as a byproduct at a hospital? Not sure.. this begs research I think. I was put off because the teeth are literally mine of course but I can see in a way because these types of things could transmit disease.. Then again human bones are bought and sold legally on ebay every day and I am not sure on other states' laws. If it were me I suspect I'd be able to stomach cleaning it if it were not from the demise of someone I knew personally. I collect animal bones yet still have my cat in the freezer because I cannot bring myself to do anything with him. I did look at him in a deceased state but somehow cutting into him is something I just cannot do for emotional reasons; I do not want those memories of him. I am eager to see what the outcome of this is.
  11. That is a great point. As it sits now I would not personally take on a project like that because I lack articulation experience and the right cleaning/degreasing methods. But if I were seasoned in cleaning and articulation the "creepy" factor would not stop me if it was not illegal. This is one piece that could not have replacement parts bought for! (bear, maybe?)
  12. Bear would be the closest, but you can get human bones out on the market. They are a lot more expensive ever since India made it illegal to fish bodies out of the river and sell them for processing.
    With a juvenile, the ends of some bones in this foot 're not going to be whole. The feet are still growing so the ends of the bones have the growth plates and are not whole.
  13. eurosbyRT

    eurosbyRT Skull Designs

    What size copper wire would you recommend using?
  14. Raphite01

    Raphite01 New Member

    I can't answer the legal question.

    But, assuming any legal issues are cleared, I'll echo what others have said. Consent is EVERYTHING in a situation like this. If an adult wants their amputated foot articulated, no big deal. If an adult doesn't want their amputated foot articulated and someone does it anyway, that is a grave ethical offense. In the case of a child, consent is more complicated. In some types of decisions a child can consent individually, in others the child and guardian must consent together, in others a guardian can give it independent of the child, and in still others a child can never be considered to have truly consented at all.

    Having an amputated foot mounted is definitely NOT a type of consent that a guardian can make independently of a child, but nor do I think it's in the small category of things to which a child can never be considered as having given consent. When I was 8, I would have thought it was totally awesome to have my foot skeletonized and articulated, and would still think it was awesome today (25 years later). Other kids would have a vastly different opinion on the matter, though. Talk to the kid.
  15. BlackCurrantWine

    BlackCurrantWine New Member

    What a neat idea! God if I were 8 and I had to lose my foot I would think it were so epic of later I could show it to my friends... I mean com'on guys what little boy wouldn't think that was the coolest thing ever? I think this is a case of an awesome dad trying to find a way to get his kid to cheer up, cause what kid would be thrilled to be loosing a foot.

    well if it turns out its totally legal for you to do it, go for it! probably a once in a lifetime opportunity really.