Skulls found near Loma Linda University were for medical research


Loma Linda University officials have solved the mystery of some human skulls and other bones that were unearthed at a nearby construction site.

Construction workers dug up several skulls and limbs, but an investigator from the coroner’s office who looked at the remains determined that they didn’t belong to victims of foul play.

Instead, they were the remains of bodies that had been used in medical research at the university back in the 1930s or ‘40s.


“What we found when we got down there today was several skulls and primarily some limb bones — mostly legs, a few arms” said Dr. Brian Bull, chair of the Loma Linda Pathology Department.

“These would probably have been purchased cadavers. Back in those days, bodies that were unclaimed were often embalmed and then used by medical students and nursing students for instructional purposes.”

Bull said this is the second time in recent years that such a discovery has been made, and officials are not quite sure why.

He said in the 1930s and ‘40s, the proper procedure once research on a body was completed would have been to take it to a cemetery for burial.

“It looks like somebody didn’t do that, and buried them not too far outside the building where they would have been used for teaching,” Bull said.



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