More All Hallow’s

(Now! With fewer disgusting pictures!)

So, you read yesterday’s post on taxidermy and you think you’d like to try it yourself?  Great!  You, too, can be a forensic anthropologist.  All you need is something that’s died, and a handful of these:


(From here.)

(You can get a beetle kit, or other taxidermy supplies, online.  Of course.)

Some years ago I did a lecture for the great summer mystery writing conference at Book Passage north of San Francisco, where one of my co-lecturers was Dr. Alison Galloway, a professor of anthropology at UC Santa Cruz.  Dr. Galloway was filled with enthusiasm for her subject, although she did admit that she’d left a number of her slides at home when she found out that she would be in the slot immediately before lunch.  Forensic anthropologists identify bones, then identify the nature of the death, and then present the evidence necessary to prosecute murders (as early as 1897) and war crimes.  If you’d like to see just how bones led to one conviction, you can follow the Smithsonian’s evidence, here.

Police labs, natural history museums, and taxidermists around the world have been using  the Dermestid beetle for generations (Scotland’s comments, here-they’ll even do a project for you!) since a colony of the creatures will clean off pretty much anything above the bone.  However, this means that if they’re hungry enough, they’ll chew their way through wood as well.

I hope Harris Stuyvesant checks his trouser-cuffs when he gets home…


LRK does creepy in:

The Bones of Paris, here.

Hellbender”, here.


  1. Debora on October 29, 2013 at 3:20 pm

    That looks like a cockroach, Laurie. This web page shows carpet beetles:

    Ask me how I know. 🙂

  2. Laurie King on October 29, 2013 at 3:29 pm

Leave a Comment