If you are a museum visitor, you will notice specific lifelike figures of animals hanging on the walls or left on platforms. These lifelike figures known as mount are products of a careful procedure called taxidermy . The practice of taxidermy refers to the art of preparing, stuffing, and mounting skins of animals with lifelike effects. Experts engaged in this practice are known as taxidermists, and while they may not often require educational qualifications to practice, they need to have a license to become a taxidermist.
Taxidermy and Embalming: What’s the Difference?
The practice of preserving dead bodies after their demise can be traced to the mummification of early Egyptian Pharaohs. However, while mummification and taxidermy are performed on a dead body, mummification is not concerned with maintaining a lifelike appearance. Taxidermy, however, does not only preserve the body in a lifelike appearance but is meant to be displayed as an exhibition in private, such as in homes or public museums.
Essential Facts you Need to know About taxidermy
The practice of taxidermy requires taxidermists to take precise measurements and pictures of the animals they are to mount and study the anatomy of the animals to produce a lifelike specimen. The following are essential facts about taxidermy :
Modern Practice of Taxidermy was Developed in England
While the practice of mummification had been around before the discovery of taxidermy , the modern practice of taxidermy can be traced to 19th century England. The practice emerged when Europeans started mounting the skins of different animals while developing chemicals used in their preservation.
Early Taxidermy Mounts were Filled with Sawdust and Rags
Modern-day taxidermists use mannequins to sculpt the preferred positions for specimens . T his has not always been the case as early taxidermists used sawdust and rags to fill their samples, which often resulted in disfigured mounts.
One of the Earliest Taxidermy Preservatives was Arsenic
Early methods of preservation differed , and the primary chemical used for the purpose of preservation was arsenic. However, present-day chemicals used for taxidermy are many and include alcohol, borax or sodium borate, alum, and others, depending on the specimen.
The American Society of Taxidermy organized the First Taxidermy Competition.
The competition, established in 1880, was put in place to celebrate foremost taxidermists and their outstanding specimens. It also celebrated science and served to inspire other taxidermists.
The Taxidermy of Humans is Illegal
While it is not rare for people to donate their remains to further the course of sciences, it is illegal to make taxidermy of humans even with the consent of such persons. This usually bothers the ethics of such practice as t he public generally reproves the exercise .
The practice of taxidermy comes with several merits. It offers individuals the opportunity to interact with animals in ways never seen before, as not everyone has the chance to see an animal in the wild, especially not close up. It, therefore, offers an opportunity to learn and appreciate nature while also improving the course of science.