April 4, 2012 -
From the same team that created "Bodies: the Exhibition," a new exhibition at the Natural History Museum of London peels away the skin of hundreds of species to reveal their anatomies. "Animal Inside Out" opens in London on April 6, 2012 and runs until Sept. 16, 2012. It features about 100 specimens displaying the structure of many creatures. The animals were preserved using the technique of plastination which was used by Gunther von Hagens in the "Body Worlds" exhibit. Here, a woman examines a plastination of a shark.
The plastination process prevents decay and allows different parts of specimens to be seen in amazing detail. It involves embalming and dissection, removal of fat and water, and replacement of animal tissue with a polymer solution. While the specimen is still malleable it is placed into its final lifelike position for display and then it is hardened.
Blood capillaries can be seen in a horse's head. "'Animal Inside Out' offers a look at animal anatomy far more detailed than any textbook, revealing the complexity and the different ways animals have evolved and adapted their anatomy and physiology according to where they live," said Dr. Angelina Whalley, the exhibition curator from the Institute for Plastination, in a press release.
A plastinated gorilla reveals the animal's muscular structure.
RELATED: Gorilla Haven Found in Cameroon
A plastinated elephant and giraffe on display. The Asian elephant was a big challenge for the team. It is the largest specimen ever to be plastinated and is one of the highlights of the show.
RELATED: Elephant Legs Work Like Four-Wheel Drive
It took a team of 30 people two and a half years and a total of 64,000 hours to prepare the elephant for the show. "The elephant posed an enormous challenge for us. We had to build a new gigantic dedicated vacuum chamber and we needed a special crane to lift the muscles from it after immersing them in acetone," Von Hagens explained in a press release.
RELATED: Elephants Outwit Humans in Intelligence Test
A horse's head sawn through, showing its inner workings.
A plastinated bull.
Plastinated ostriches showing their muscle structure and blood capillaries.
RELATED: Photos: Animals At Risk