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Dr. Bones… Ray Bandar’s Massive Skull Collection

Recently, our meager collection of skulls increased four-fold when my uncle brought us a huge bag of bones back from Cranbrook, BC, that he and my cousin collected from the side of the highway. I spent the last month or so soaking, scrubbing, rinsing and drying the skulls, and now they decorate my walls and surfaces. It was a lot of work, and very time-consuming – and these were bones that had already been mostly cleaned of flesh by time and animals. This experience has given me a healthy respect for the work that has gone into the 7,000 piece skull collection of Dr. Bones, aka Ray Bandar, a San Francisco based collector of animal skulls and bones, who has been collecting animal remains since the 1940s. He has many of his skulls displayed at the California Academy of Sciences, and a massive “Bone Palace” in his basement. His bone palace is now on display at the California Academy of Sciences, and features the skulls of land and sea animals from all over the world. The gnarliest part about his collecting is that oftentimes, he will extract the skull from a recently dead animal, like a seal that has washed ashore, and is bloated and stinking with decay. Old, dried flesh is gross enough to take off a skull, I can’t imagine what cleaning gooey, rancid, stinking flesh is like! Check out this short documentary about his life below, A Life With Skulls, plus photos of his insane, massive collection!

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Raymond Bandar and his 'Bone Palace"












  1. Chris Whitehead

    July 4, 2014 at 3:28 pm

    Are these all gifts it natural deaths?

  2. Sebastian Will

    July 4, 2014 at 2:41 pm

    That’s a hippo skull.

  3. Emily Katherine Norton

    July 4, 2014 at 11:58 am

    Of course you did, Davin Markley

  4. Mike Sweeney

    July 4, 2014 at 11:17 am

    Pretty sure that’s a Walrus

  5. Dallas Hunter Van Winkle

    July 4, 2014 at 8:47 am

    Yeah, what’s the big one?

  6. Rush Falknor

    July 4, 2014 at 8:25 am

    Mike Sweeney

  7. Lenny Marshall McCall

    July 4, 2014 at 8:05 am

    What is that one he’s leaning on??

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