Diagram of a camel skeleton

Tip: Don’t be too ambitious! This diagram of a camel skeleton is from The Philosophy of Natural History, by John Ware, M.D., published in 1860.

Build Your Own Cabinet of Curiosities!

Can you imagine a Victorian Lady tinkering around with the skeletal remains of an animal? In a slim volume published in London in the mid 1800’s called “Parlour Recreations for Ladies,” I found this interesting bit of instruction.


Put any small subject, when killed, either a bird (with the feathers plucked off), a mouse, or a frog, in a box perforated with a number of holes. Let it be properly distended, to prevent the parts from collapsing, or being crushed together by the pressure of the earth. Then place the box, with its contents, in an ant-hole, and in a few days it will have become an exquisitely beautiful and perfect skeleton, by the ants having consumed every part of it, excepting the bones and ligaments. When removed, place it under a glass for a curiosity.