Gunther von Hagens and the team that brought you dissected and preserved human bodies posed in lifelike positions have now applied their unique plastination process to animals.
Their latest exhibition contains nearly 100 immaculately preserved specimens, ranging from a rat to a fully dissected and free-standing Asian elephant. You’ll also find aquatic treats such as a squid, and a selection of domestic animals.
Unique to this exhibition is a new method that preserves only the blood vessels, while removing all other tissue. You’ll be startled at the number and density of blood vessels in an ostrich or a shark.
The lack of human specimens does make it feel slightly less macabre than previous von Hagens shows, but we still wouldn’t recommend this display to the squeamish. It’s unsettling to see, under their skins, that these animals are remarkably similar to us, with the same organs and muscle groups in slightly different arrangements.
And this is no mere gore-fest. The exhibition is educational in tone, with plenty of information aimed at children…once they’ve overcome the initial excitement of seeing all the dissected animals.
If you’re a fan of the previous Body Worlds exhibitions or the television series Inside Nature’s Giants, then you’ll definitely want to see this. Fascinating and entertaining in equal measure, you’re guaranteed to learn something.
Animal Inside Out is on display at the Natural History Museum from 6 April until 16 September. Tickets are £9 for adults, concessions available.