This week, I was fortunate enough to get a guided behind-the-scenes tour of the incredible Field
Museum in Chicago, one of the finest natural history museums in the country. The fascinating tour culminated in a visit to the "dermestid beetle room", where fresh carcasses are turned into skeletons. This is done through the very efficient and natural method of using dermestid flesh-eating beetles to consume all of the tissue off the carcass, leaving a perfectly clean skeleton.
The advantage of this process is that it is much less destructive to the skeleton than other methods such as using acid or boiling the carcass. When you are studying the eye socket bones of a bird so small that the human eye can barely see them, the dermestid method is clearly superior.
"The little guys work night-and-day without pay or lunch breaks… And they can completely deflesh a large animal carcass in under two days," my guide explained.