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Bones are obtained when butchering animals or taking apart skeletons. Some severed body parts also decay into usable bones, the same way a corpse rots into a skeleton.
Skeletons are the last step of the rotting procedure. After a corpse begins to rot, no food can be created from it, and it will eventually rot into a skeleton. The skeleton has to be taken to the butcher's shop and "butchered" to be torn apart into skulls and bones afterwards. Bone does not rot further or produce miasma. Note that many civilizations (like dwarves) consider it unethical to butcher certain corpsesBug:1180. An exception is the stack of bone that can form after a severed part decays. This appears to happen when the part in question has bone as its only non-rotting material.
While bones are counted as "body parts" in the stocks menu, they have their own subcategory in the refuse stockpile menu. It is a good idea to create an internal refuse stockpile to handle bones near one's craftsdwarf's workshop for easy access. Dwarves in a strange mood may require bone as an ingredient, also making it important to stockpile bone in a safe place.
Be aware, stockpiled bones may disappear due to vermin such as rats.
Uses for Bone
Bones are processed as follows:
At the craftsdwarf's workshop, using the bone carving labour:
- Bone crafts, for sale to visiting merchants.
- Bone armor, namely leggings, greaves, gauntlets, and helm. Note that armor made out of bone can be used by dwarves assigned a uniform of metal armor.
- Bone decorations. Any decoratable item can be decorated with bone, which adds to the items' value.
- Bone bolts. These bolts are fired from crossbows. Each bone will produce 5 bolts. Whereas, in previous versions, a stack of bone would be turned into a single stack of bolts (a stack of Yak Cow bone  would be turned into a stack of yak bone bolts ), now each bone must be crafted individually (a stack of Yak Cow bone  becomes a stack of Yak Cow bone  plus a stack of yak bone bolts ). This renders the process for carving bone bolts much slower than in previous versions.
At the bowyer's workshop, using the crossbow-making labour: