Turkey's exports to the U.S. are widely assorted, from food to belly dancer costumes. A university in western Turkey has added a rather odd item to the list of exports: Donkey bones. Adnan Menderes University, located in the western province of Aydın, delivered the bones of a donkey to the University of Nevada for the low price of TL 1,000 ($373.44). It is all for scientific purposes, of course, university officials assure us. The bones will be placed in a "bone library" of the American university's anthropology department where they will mainly be used in the comparison of bones found during archaeological excavations.
Erkut Kara from Adnan Menderes University's Faculty of Veterinary Science said donkey bones are hard to find in the U.S. and several other countries, while donkeys are abundant and still in use in Turkey as a beast of burden. Kara stressed that animal bones used for scientific purposes are rather expensive. "A dog skull is sold for about TL 500, for instance," he said.
Bones are from animals are either donated by their owner after their death or from stray animals that succumbed to various diseases or died due to natural causes.
Kara said they have a large archive of animal bones, especially canine species, and they were also sending bones to other Turkish universities for research purposes. He added that although bones may be common to find, their cleaning involves meticulous work, as the microbial presence in the bones may cause lethal diseases.
The professor said they accept orders a year in advance due to the high demand for the bones.