Just about everyone today knows pretty exactly what a human skeleton looks like, the shapes of all the bones, their physical arrangement, etc. But it occurred to me yesterday that as far as I can remember, I've never seen a real one. Certainly not in real life with my own eyes, not even a single human bone, that I can recall. Odds are somewhere along the way I've seen a real one depicted in a photograph or on TV, but I can't point with certainty at any particular moment that I saw one and knew it was a real one, not a mockup. For all I know, every skeleton I've ever seen might have some kind of Hollywood inaccuracy. I can think of a few pictures of particular bones that I've seen that I knew (as much as you can really be sure of any reliable source, at least) were real, but most of those are just skulls.
So I was thinking that there's this saturation where almost everyone in so-called "Western civilization" has seen countless images of skeletons, but by the same token, probably the majority of us (maybe a vast majority) have never seen a real one. What would it have been like in previous generations? I wonder if you go back far enough, if having seen real human bones, or even a real whole skeleton, might not have been a lot more common. Maybe there's a period in between a time when people often had seen the real thing, and when people had seen them on TV, where most people would not know what they looked like.