- Specific Questions
Do You Sell Any Endangered Species?
We don't sell any species on the U. S. Federal or State of California Endangered Species Lists. However, we do have some CITES (Convention on the International Trade of Endangered Species) listed species. There is much confusion between these two lists. The Federal Endangered Species list is specific to the United States and controls the possession and interstate transportation of threatened and endangered species within the United States. The California list does the same thing for our state.
CITES, on the other hand, is an international agreement that controls the exportation of species identified by their home country as in need of special protection. Because it this applies to international trade only, CITES species that were legally brought into the United States (either pre-act or with permits) are legal to sell within the United States, but not to re-export. In many cases, a species will be on one list but not the other (see the case of elephant ivory, below).
Because CITES is essentially a law governing international trade, many species common in captivity or the pet trade are listed. They are listed because a CITES designation allows countries to enforce export quotas on these native species, either to control trade or encourage captive breeding. Most exotic birds and reptiles commonly seen in the pet trade are CITES classified for this reason.
Many CITES species (particularly insects) are captive-bred or farmed in their home countries as a means of providing income to indigenous populations and for giving an incentive for habitat protection. These specimens are exported with CITES permits that vouch for their legal origin. In addition, The Bone Room only buys from reputable suppliers who follow legal procedure and maintain careful records of their trade in these specimens.
Rest assured that The Bone Room does not participate in or support the illegal trade of threatened and endangered species.
I Don't Want a Real Bone, Can I Have a Cast Instead?
We offer skull casts of many animal species. Generally, casts are made when animals are either impossible to acquire for legal reasons, or exceptionally rare. A cast is a replica that is made from an original specimen (as opposed to a sculpted or modeled replica). A mold is made using the original skull, and this mold is then used to make positive versions of the skull in polyurethane, resin, hydrastone, or another chosen material.
While for rare animals a cast can be more affordable than a real skull, this is not true for common species. The process of making a cast requires great skill and labor. Quality casts come from multi-part molds that must be expertly made and fitted together. Each mold can only produce a finite number of replicas. Upon coming out of the mold, each replica must be hand-finished to remove seams and stained to match the color and patina of the original. As a result, quality replicas often require more effort to prepare than a real skull.
We offer full skeleton-casts of some species. The labor-intensive cast process applies here as well, but even more so. For a museum-quality large animal cast, each bone is cast individually. This requires hundreds of individual multi-part molds as well as final assembly of the finished skeleton!
That being said, we can get casts of the skulls of most animal species, with new species becoming available on a regular basis. Please let us know what you are looking for.
We work within the framework of U.S. Federal, California State, and International Treaty Law. Within these jurisdictions, there are no prohibitions on the sale or possession of human bones.
Do You Carry Elephant Ivory?
We do not carry any kind of modern elephant ivory.
Tagua nut, or vegetable ivory, is an alternative that we carry, both as carving and raw nuts. Traditionally used as a practice material for carvers, this renewable rainforest product has come to be a respected ivory medium in its own right.
I Found a Whale Bone on the Beach. How Much is it Worth?
Truth is, a whale bone has no commercial value to us. And it may be worth a hefty fine or jail time to you. This is because almost all marine mammals, including whales and seals, are protected by the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972. Like the Migratory Bird Act, this law prevents the trade or possession of Marine Mammals, in whole or in part. We occasionally carry fossil marine mammal parts as well as casts of many species.
I'm looking for Raven/Hawk/Humming bird feathers. Why don't you carry these?
We only carry bird parts from domestic or game birds, such as chickens, ducks, pheasants, pigeons and emus. We do not carry parts of ravens, crows, hawks, owls, eagles, hummingbirds or any other wild bird species. These, and most other bird species, are fully protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. Pieces or parts of the species listed by this act are illegal to sell or even to possess. This includes skulls, feathers, eggs and nest parts. However, we occasionally carry casts of some of these species, please inquire.
I Found a Bone. Can You Identify it For Me?
As much as we like to help our customers, we are not a bone identification service. While skulls are often simple to identify, individual post-cranial or fragmentary remains can be very difficult, especially when not seen in person. And while we know our local animals, we are not necessarily familiar with species from other parts of the country.
If you have a skull and would like to send us a picture (with measurements) we might be able to point you in the correct general direction. This may mean identifying to the family level, but we usually cannot specify species level from a picture alone.
As a side note, please be aware of local laws before attempting to collect bones of local species. Many species are subject to local laws, whether dead or alive. For example, migratory birds are illegal to posses in any piece or way, regardless of how you acquire the remains. Other species may be possessed but not sold. We are not saying this to discourage any interest in natural history, but because many people are simply unaware of the myriad laws that apply to our native animals.
You Have a Skull of an Animal I Want. Can I Get a Complete Skeleton?
As you browse our website, you will notice that we offer many more animal skulls than complete skeletons. This is due to the amount of labor that goes into preparing a complete skeleton. There are not many people who do this work, as it is messy and time-consuming (and it tends to annoy the neighbors!). As a result, articulations are expensive compared to loose bone and so are primarily restricted to animals commonly used in teaching (the main market for such preparations). We can try and acquire a complete skeleton of a specific animal for you, however be advised that the wait may be long and the price will be substantially higher than for the skull alone.