One of the world’s largest collections of human skeletons has found a home at the University of Iowa. The bones of 11-hundred people were donated to science about a century ago. Anthropology Professor Bob Franciscus started preserving the collection while at California’s Stanford University and when he took a job at the U-of-I, the collection came too. The skeletons had been stored in flour sacks and were used in early 1900s at the Stanford Medical School to study anatomy.Over the next two years, Franciscus and his team will clean and catalogue each of the 237-thousand bones along with the medical records of each patient. The skeletons will be used for research in medicine and anthropology. Franciscus says there is something unusual about this collection, which is now permanently in Iowa City. He says they’re complete skeletons with medical records.Franciscus says the collection is of particular value since the remains are of people who lived prior to major improvements in modern health care practices, including the advent of antibiotics, the wide use of fluoride, vitamins and other modern benefits.
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