Museum of Osteology

The Museum of Osteology, located in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, United States, North America, is a private museum devoted to the study of bones and skeletons (osteology). This museum displays over 350 skeletons from animal species from animals all over the world.[1] With another 7000 specimens as part of the collection, but not on display, this is the largest privately held collection of osteological specimens in the world.[2][3][4]

Museum of Osteology
Museum Logo
Museum of Osteology is located in Oklahoma
Museum of Osteology
Location of the Museum of Osteology in Oklahoma
LocationOklahoma City, United States
Coordinates35°21′55″N 97°26′33″W / 35.365371°N 97.442601°W
TypeNatural history museum
Collection size5,000+ skeletal specimens
DirectorJay Villemarette


Museum of Osteology exhibits
Exhibits including a humpback whale at the Museum of Osteology, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

The museum focuses on the form and function of the skeletal system with numerous educational and taxonomic displays featuring all five vertebrate classes.[4]

The collections housed by the Museum of Osteology are the result of over 40 years of collecting by Jay Villemarette.[5]

Currently, the collections consist of approximately 7,000 specimens representing over 2,500 species of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish.[6]


Skulls Unlimited and the Museum of Osteology
Skulls Unlimited and the Museum of Osteology, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

The museum was established by Jay Villemarette, founder of the company Skulls Unlimited International, Inc., which is located next to the museum.[2] Construction on the museum began in 2004 and opened to the public on October 1, 2010.[2][3][7][8]

In 2015, the Museum of Osteology opened a second location, Skeletons: Museum of Osteology, at the I-Drive 360 entertainment complex in Orlando, Florida. This location is cited as the largest skeleton museum in America with over 500 skeletons on display.


Oklahoma wildlife exhibit at the museum of osteology

Oklahoma wildlife on display at the Museum of Osteology, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

Primate exhibit museum of osteology

Primate skeletons on display at the Museum of Osteology.

Kinkajou skeleton

Skeleton of a Kinkajou

Museum of Osteology interior

Skeletons on display at the Museum of Osteology.

Elephant skeleton museum of osteology

Elephant skeleton on display at the Museum of Osteology.

Pygmy sperm whale skeleton

Pygmy sperm whale skeleton on display at the Museum of Osteology.

Lion and eland

African lion attacking a common eland antelope skeleton.

School Bus Tour Group

School bus tour group

Museum of osteology 3 2010

The Museum of Osteology in the final stages of development, March 2010.

Museum of osteology ungulate exhibits

Ungulate skeletons on display at the Museum of Osteology.

Museum of osteology various exhibits

Various animal skeletons on display at the Museum of Osteology.

Big cat exhibit

Big cat exhibit at the Museum of Osteology, including tiger, jaguar and African lion.

Fossil hominids

Fossil hominid and human evolution exhibit on display at the Museum of Osteology.


  1. ^ "Skeletons: Animals Unveiled! I-Drive 360". Retrieved 2016-08-04.
  2. ^ a b c Urstadt, Brian (July 2006). "I'm Going to Rib-cage World". Outside Magazine. Retrieved 17 June 2011.
  3. ^ a b Raymond, Jeff (March 26, 2007). "Skeleton Crew". The Oklahoman.
  4. ^ a b Wheelbarger, Brent (Oct 1, 2008). "The Bone Collectors; The Biggest Skeletal Collection in the World Right Here in Moore Oklahoma" (PDF). Moore Monthly.
  5. ^ Horton, Greg (October 25, 2006). "Bone Collector". Oklahoma Gazette.
  6. ^ Brus, Brian (May 27, 2009). "Skull Junkie Finds Solid Future in Skeleton Frontier". The Journal Record.
  7. ^ Dinger, Matt (2010-11-15). "Museum Opens in Southeast Oklahoma City". The Daily Oklahoman.
  8. ^ Gray, Aaron Wright (2010-10-30), "Villemarette Gets His Skeletons Out of the Closet", Norman Transcript

External links

African elephant

African elephants are elephants of the genus Loxodonta. The genus consists of two extant species: the African bush elephant, L. africana, and the smaller African forest elephant, L. cyclotis. Loxodonta (from Greek λοξός, loxós: 'slanting, crosswise, oblique sided'; + ὀδούς, odoús: stem -odont, 'tooth') is one of two existing genera of the family Elephantidae. Fossil remains of Loxodonta elephants have been recognized only in Africa, dating back to strata from the middle Pliocene. However, sequence analysis of DNA from fossils of the extinct European species Palaeoloxodon antiquus shows it to be much closer to L. cyclotis than L. africana is, undermining the validity of Loxodonta.


Anacondas or water boas are a group of large snakes of the genus Eunectes. They are found in tropical South America. Four species are currently recognized.


Armadillos (from Spanish "little armoured one") are New World placental mammals in the order Cingulata. The Chlamyphoridae and Dasypodidae are the only surviving families in the order, which is part of the superorder Xenarthra, along with the anteaters and sloths. Nine extinct genera and 21 extant species of armadillo have been described, some of which are distinguished by the number of bands on their armour. All species are native to the Americas, where they inhabit a variety of different environments.

Armadillos are characterized by a leathery armour shell and long sharp claws for digging. They have short legs, but can move quite quickly. The average length of an armadillo is about 75 cm (30 in), including tail. The giant armadillo grows up to 150 cm (59 in) and weighs up to 54 kg (119 lb), while the pink fairy armadillo has a length of only 13–15 cm (5–6 in). When threatened by a predator, Tolypeutes species frequently roll up into a ball.

Banded pipefish

The banded pipefish or ringed pipefish (Dunckerocampus dactyliophorus) is a species of fish in the Syngnathidae (seahorses and pipefish) family.

Black-casqued hornbill

The black-casqued hornbill or black-casqued wattled hornbill (Ceratogymna atrata) is a species of hornbill in the family Bucerotidae.

It is found in Angola, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Republic of the Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ivory Coast, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, South Sudan, Togo, and Uganda.

Blue-and-yellow macaw

The blue-and-yellow macaw (Ara ararauna), also known as the blue-and-gold macaw, is a large South American parrot with mostly blue top parts and light orange underparts, with gradient hues of green on top of its head. It is a member of the large group of neotropical parrots known as macaws. It inhabits forest (especially varzea, but also in open sections of terra firme or unflooded forest), woodland and savannah of tropical South America. They are popular in aviculture because of their striking color, ability to talk, ready availability in the marketplace, and close bonding to humans.


The Chelydridae are a family of turtles that has seven extinct and two extant genera. The extant genera are the snapping turtles Chelydra and Macrochelys. Both are endemic to the Western Hemisphere. The extinct genera are Acherontemys, Chelydrops, Chelydropsis, Emarginachelys, Macrocephalochelys, Planiplastron, and Protochelydra.

Human skeleton

The human skeleton is the internal framework of the body. It is composed of around 270 bones at birth – this total decreases to around 206 bones by adulthood after some bones get fused together. The bone mass in the skeleton reaches maximum density around age 21. The human skeleton can be divided into the axial skeleton and the appendicular skeleton. The axial skeleton is formed by the vertebral column, the rib cage, the skull and other associated bones. The appendicular skeleton, which is attached to the axial skeleton, is formed by the shoulder girdle, the pelvic girdle and the bones of the upper and lower limbs.

The human skeleton performs six major functions; support, movement, protection, production of blood cells, storage of minerals, and endocrine regulation.

The human skeleton is not as sexually dimorphic as that of many other primate species, but subtle differences between sexes in the morphology of the skull, dentition, long bones, and pelvis exist. In general, female skeletal elements tend to be smaller and less robust than corresponding male elements within a given population. The human female pelvis is also different from that of males in order to facilitate childbirth. Unlike most primates, human males do not have penile bones.

Jay Villemarette

Jay Villemarette (pronounced ˈvɪləmərɛt) is the owner, founder and president of both Skulls Unlimited International, Inc. and SKELETONS: Museum of Osteology.

Keel (bird anatomy)

A keel or carina (plural carinae) in bird anatomy is an extension of the sternum (breastbone) which runs axially along the midline of the sternum and extends outward, perpendicular to the plane of the ribs. The keel provides an anchor to which a bird's wing muscles attach, thereby providing adequate leverage for flight. Keels do not exist on all birds; in particular, some flightless birds lack a keel structure.

Historically, the presence or absence of a pronounced keel structure was used as a broad classification of birds into two orders: Carinatae (from carina, "keel"), having a pronounced keel; and ratites (from ratis, "raft" — referring to the flatness of the sternum), having a subtle keel structure or lacking one entirely. However, this classification has fallen into disuse as evolutionary studies have shown that many flightless birds have evolved from flighted birds.


Macaws are long-tailed, often colorful New World parrots.

Maceration (bone)

Maceration is a bone preparation technique whereby a clean skeleton is obtained from a vertebrate carcass by leaving it to decompose inside a closed container at near-constant temperature. This may be done as part of a forensic investigation, as a recovered body is too badly decomposed for a meaningful autopsy, but with enough flesh or skin remaining as to obscure macroscopically visible evidence, such as cut-marks. In most cases, maceration is done on the carcass of an animal for educational purposes.


Macrochelys is a genus of very large freshwater turtles in the family Chelydridae from Southeastern United States. Only a single extant species was recognized until a 2014 study divided it into several species.


Manatees (family Trichechidae, genus Trichechus) are large, fully aquatic, mostly herbivorous marine mammals sometimes known as sea cows. There are three accepted living species of Trichechidae, representing three of the four living species in the order Sirenia: the Amazonian manatee (Trichechus inunguis), the West Indian manatee (Trichechus manatus), and the West African manatee (Trichechus senegalensis). They measure up to 4.0 metres (13.1 ft) long, weigh as much as 590 kilograms (1,300 lb), and have paddle-like flippers. The etymology of the name is dubious, with connections having been made to Latin "manus" (hand), and to a word sometimes cited as "manati" used by the Taíno, a pre-Columbian people of the Caribbean, meaning "breast". Manatees are occasionally called sea cows, as they are slow plant-eaters, peaceful and similar to cows on land. They often graze on water plants in tropical seas.


Osteoderms are bony deposits forming scales, plates or other structures based in the dermis. Osteoderms are found in many groups of extant and extinct reptiles and amphibians, including lizards, crocodilians, frogs, temnospondyls (extinct amphibians), various groups of dinosaurs (most notably ankylosaurs and stegosaurians), phytosaurs, aetosaurs, placodonts, and hupehsuchians (marine reptiles with possible ichthyosaur affinities).

Osteoderms are uncommon in mammals, but have occurred in many xenarthrans (armadillos and the extinct glyptodonts and ground sloths). Osteoderms have clearly evolved independently in many different lineages, and these varied structures should be thought of as anatomical analogues, not homologues, and do not necessarily indicate monophyly. In many cases, osteoderms may function as defensive armor. Osteoderms are composed of bone tissue, and are derived from a scleroblast neural crest cell population during embryonic development of the organism. The scleroblastic neural crest cell population shares some homologous characteristics associated with the dermis.The osteoderms of modern crocodilians are heavily vascularized , and can function as both armor and as heat-exchangers , allowing these large reptiles to rapidly raise or lower their temperature. Another function is to neutralize acidosis, caused by being submerged under water for longer periods of time and leading to the accumulation of carbon dioxide in the blood . The calcium and magnesium in the dermal bone will release alkaline ions into the bloodstream, acting as a buffer against acidification of the body fluids.


Osteology is the scientific study of bones, practiced by osteologists. A subdiscipline of anatomy, anthropology, and archaeology, osteology is a detailed study of the structure of bones, skeletal elements, teeth, microbone morphology, function, disease, pathology, the process of ossification (from cartilaginous molds), the resistance and hardness of bones (biophysics), etc. often used by scientists with identification of vertebrate remains with regard to age, death, sex, growth, and development and can be used in a biocultural context. Osteologists frequently work in the public and private sector as consultants for museums, scientists for research laboratories, scientists for medical investigations and/or for companies producing osteological reproductions in an academic context.

Osteology and osteologists should not be confused with the holistic practice of medicine known as osteopathy and its practitioners, osteopaths.

Skulls Unlimited International

Skulls Unlimited International, Inc. is a commercial supplier of osteological specimens located in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Skulls Unlimited Inc. provides a skull cleaning service, using dermestid beetles to strip the flesh from skulls and skeletons. The bones are later whitened using hydrogen peroxide. Skulls Unlimited processes approximately 25,000 skull specimens per year.


The Syngnathidae is a family of fish which includes seahorses, pipefishes, and seadragons. The name is derived from Greek, σύν (syn), meaning "together", and γνάθος (gnathos), meaning "jaw". This fused jaw trait is something the entire family has in common.

Museums in the Oklahoma City Metro
Oklahoma City

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