Considered as high-quality -- and high priced -- medical commodities, Burke and Hare's victims were given special treatment.
"We know from the documentary evidence that they were preserved in alcohol, or divided into sections and handed over to select students. No practical-minded anatomy lecturer would waste them to create an articulated skeleton," Rosner said.
Indeed, preparing a skeleton for anatomical display was a laborious process which involved soaking the corpse in a closed tub for about two months until all the skin and muscle fell off.
"Then, the preparer had to carefully dig out all the bones from the ‘putrid matter,' and place them in a basin of pure water," Rosner said.
Once clean, the bones were left to dry for quite a long time during Scotland's summer months. Finally holes were drilled in so that brass or iron wires could hold the bones together.
Most likely, the Haymarket bones underwent the soaking in water treatment.
"That was the fate of second rate, often emaciated cadavers, or those whose soft parts were damaged by injury or disease," Rosner said.