It could be the plot for the pilot of "CSI: New Zealand."
That half-skeleton they've been using for years as a teaching aid isn't a model, it's the real thing.
Principal Bastienne Kruger at Totara North School was about to use the skeleton during a presentation recently when she realized it wasn't plastic but real human bones, the Northern Advocate in New Zealand reports.
"When we realized it was real we wanted to do right by this poor person, but we didn't know how," the paper quoted Kruger as saying. She called the local hospital, which advised her to hand the remains, including a skull and complete ribs, hands and feet for one half of a body, over to the authorities.
Police called on the expertise of the Historic Places Trust, which bills itself as the guardian of "Aotearoa New Zealandâ€™s national heritage." Aotearoa is the Maori name for New Zealand, and the school reportedly had concerns the skeleton could be of an indigenous Maori.
That was not the case, trust manager Stuart Park told the paper. The jaw lacked Maori characteristics and the way the bones were cleaned suggested professional work, he said, meaning they likely were part of a trade in medical specimen skeletons from India and China that existed in 19th and early 20th centuries.
"It is clearly a half skeleton for medical purposes," Park is quoted as saying.
Kruger told the paper that the school, which opened in 1852, didn't know how long it had the bones.
And for now, the bones will stay out of lesson plans and in the custody of police.