The 10 Best Anatomical Skeletons

Updated April 22, 2018 by Sam Kraft

10 Best Anatomical Skeletons
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We spent 45 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top choices for this wiki. The human body is one of life’s wonders. Whether you need a thoughtful gift for a cash-strapped medical student or a model for studying in the classroom, these anatomical skeletons offer the opportunity to expand knowledge through hands-on examination. Most of these options can also moonlight as a spooky, lifelike Halloween decoration. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best anatomical skeleton on Amazon.

10. Anatomical Chart Company Mr. Thrifty

The Anatomical Chart Company Mr. Thrifty is ideal for a kindergarten classroom because it looks remarkably realistic, which intrigues young, curious children. It helps that the hard plastic is difficult to bend or break, though the joints don't move very well.
  • balanced weight distribution
  • arrives fully assembled
  • screws on the skull are too big
Brand Anatomical Chart Compan
Model WCP1
Weight 6.8 pounds
Rating 3.5 / 5.0

9. Wellden Half-Life

Featuring a spine with upper vertebrae that move from side to side, the Wellden Half-Life is a nice option for a chiropractor who needs to explain neck issues to patients. It sits on a heavy, stable base that makes it quite difficult to tip over.
  • joints bend with ease
  • can remain in a sitting position
  • metal parts rust easily
Brand Wellden
Model pending
Weight 4.8 pounds
Rating 4.2 / 5.0

8. Giantex Medical

The Giantex Medical is ideal for the office of an acupuncturist or a physical therapist because it stands on five sturdy wheels, so you can move it from room to room for different appointments. It's made from a very durable plastic.
  • hangs from a stainless steel support
  • minimal assembly required
  • sternum looks rather fake
Brand Giantex
Model B010L18XEW
Weight pending
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

7. ShopAnatomical Life Size

Designed with shoulder, elbow, wrist, hip, and knee joints that are all movable, the ShopAnatomical Life Size helps teachers actively engage their students. It's made from washable PVC, which is nice for adding markings that can be erased later.
  • comes with a dust cover
  • suture lines on the skull
  • limited mobility in the spine
Model SAI-11S
Weight 27.3 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

6. American Educational Male

A nice value for the level of detail it provides, the American Educational Male is constructed with movable extremities for demonstration purposes and a highly accurate representation of the spinal cord. If need be, you can remove it from the stand.
  • 2 sizes available
  • lightweight and easy to move around
  • poorly defined elbow and knee joints
Brand American Educational Pr
Model 7-1411
Weight 4.7 pounds
Rating 4.2 / 5.0

5. Zeny Model

From medical professionals to knowledge-hungry students, the Zeny Model can be used for activities ranging from individual study to group demonstrations. When set up on its stainless steel holder, it stands nearly six feet tall, and features removable arms and legs.
  • cleans easily with soap and water
  • includes a movable jaw
  • versatile rolling stand
Brand ZENY
Model pending
Weight 26 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

4. Walter Products B10215

The full-size Walter Products B10215 is carefully built in a durable mold, so it will last through years of teaching. It features colored representations of the muscles, with insertion points on the left side and depictions of ligaments on the right.
  • 3 removable teeth in the jaw
  • assembles and disassembles quickly
  • very precise representation of bones
Brand Walter Products
Model B10215
Weight 24.9 pounds
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

3. Hbarsci Disarticulated

Advanced physiology students will benefit from studying the Hbarsci Disarticulated. It provides an impressive amount of detail and includes more than 200 bones and structures, most of which can be taken apart for further investigation.
  • made with medical-grade components
  • able to withstand high temperatures
  • pieces can be labeled with marker
Model pending
Weight 17.2 pounds
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

2. Wellden Life-Size

The Wellden Life-Size includes nerves, vertebral arteries, and a herniated disc for detailed analysis. The arms and legs are flexible enough to recreate real human movements, and the entire thing is held together firmly by pins on a five-caster stand.
  • comes with an anatomical chart
  • every finger has mobility
  • arms and legs are easily removed
Brand Wellden
Model E1113
Weight 23.6 pounds
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

1. Axis Scientific Classic

With a skull that is simple to detach from the body, the Axis Scientific Classic allows you to study the human head in more detail than most models. The skull cap is also removable, revealing the interior components for examination.
  • arms display flexion and extension
  • identifying labels
  • includes an in-depth study guide
Brand Axis Scientific
Model A-104267
Weight 23.4 pounds
Rating 4.6 / 5.0

A Brief History Of The Skeleton

It may sound strange to have a history of the skeleton. After all, we've always had them, we've always known where they were, so, end of story, right?

Not so fast. The history of our knowledge of the skeleton can be quite fascinating, and filled with all manner of false starts and mistaken identities.

The early Egyptians are the first people that we know were interested in human anatomy, thanks to medical texts from their time that have survived on papyrus. However, they were mostly concerned with nerves, internal organs, and blood vessels, and seemed to regard the skeleton as merely a shell to protect all the mushy stuff inside.

The Greeks advanced the field of study, adding animal dissection to their curriculum. Even Aristotle was quite interested in anatomy, and his methods included cracking eggs open at differing intervals to track the development of organs, watching octopi mate, and presumably trying to explain to his friends why he was watching octopi mate.

The Greek anatomist Galen took the field much further than his predecessors, in part because his role as physician to gladiators allowed him to see the human skeleton without having to cut up living people to do it. This was important, as the law at that time forbade cutting up cadavers. He was able to draw many correct conclusions, like the fact that the femur is so large because it supports the body's weight. However, every single one of the gladiators he treated is dead now, so how good of a doctor could he be, really?

The study of the skeleton didn't take off again until the Renaissance, when the Belgian Andreas Vesalius obtained permission to vivisect men who had been executed. He was the first to suggest that the skeleton might be easier to study if it were outside of the body, which eventually led to the use of the models that are so commonplace in science classrooms today.

Before that, however, it led to a rise in body snatching. With demand for medical knowledge at a premium, gravediggers would exhume corpses to sell their bones to doctors and universities. This led to many advances, but legislation eventually curbed it, and real skeletons were soon replaced by wooden models, which are the forebears of the plastic versions we have now.

What To Look For In An Anatomical Skeleton

There are many reasons one might be interested in purchasing their own model skeleton, such as studying for medical exams, teaching an anatomy class, or driving in the carpool lane. Regardless of why you want one, however, here are some things to look out for before you make your purchase.

First off, how much detail do you need? Do you need one that shows the location of nerves and arteries, or do you just need the bones? As you might expect, the more in-depth you go, the more you'll end up paying, so figure out what you need before you start shopping.

Also, how up close and personal are people going to get with this thing? if you expect students to be hands-on with it, make sure it's sturdy and well put-together. Not all models are fully flexible, either, so be sure to check on that when doing comparisons. Some have moving parts, as well, like a functioning jaw, which is great if you're working on your ventriloquist act after school.

Many models come on wheels for easy transportation, making it very convenient if you change classrooms a lot, or if you're a chiropractor who needs to drag his skeleton from room to room. Some are even washable, so you can draw on them if you need to really go in-depth with your explanation, or if you've just always wanted to see what a skeleton would look like with a mustache.

Just about any model will get the job done, however, so it's up to you how...bare bones you want to be about it.

Tips For Getting Students Interested In Anatomy

Anatomy is one of those subjects that can be a ton of fun if the teacher knows how to make it engaging. And whether you're trying to get a classroom of unruly students to focus on the skeletal system for a few minutes or you're just trying to force yourself to pay attention before a big test, the right teaching strategy can make all the difference.

Just like in kindergarten, show and tell is going to be your best friend here. Invite students to compare the model with their own bodies, so that they can see where each bone is located in a way that allows them to relate to the material. You'll find that many people have no idea of where things are on their own spirit vessels, so this is a great opportunity for you to make up fake bones like the "hununculus" and then take a nap at your desk while they look for it.

Repetition is also important, so you can use your skeleton as a sort of modified flash card system. Every day, you can challenge them by pointing at a body part and asking them to name it. This will reinforce what they've already learned without overloading them with new information.

You should supplement any textbook learning with the model, as well. If you're learning about the circulatory system, for example, you can point to where the heart would be in the body, while showing how the rib cage shields it. You can also trace the location of blood vessels along the bones, if you don't buy a model that already has them marked.

Ultimately, you're only as limited as your imagination when it comes to teaching anatomy. Having a skeleton to use for demonstrations is a huge advantage, though, and you'll likely find that your students soak up the information much more easily when they have something to use as a reference.

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Last updated on April 22, 2018 by Sam Kraft

Sam is a marketing/communications professional and freelance writer who resides in Chicago, IL and is perpetually celebrating the Cubs’ 2016 World Series victory.

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