An exhibit at the Natural History Museum in London is making news for its unique take on animal anatomy. Using the same plastination technique made famous in the traveling Body Worlds exhibits, designers have preserved the entire circulation systems and musculature of animals.
“It offers a glimpse into a world that is otherwise locked away,” curator Angelina Whalley told The Guardian.
Plastination was invented at Heidelberg University in 1977. Water and fatty tissue is extracted from cells and replaced with plastics. Enzymes then dissolve the non-plastinated tissue — leaving just the preserved blood vessels, muscles or organs. Animal science students have probably seen individual plastinated organs in their physiology cases, but it is rare to see entire animals preserved this way. The “Animal Inside Out” exhibit has around 100 specimens, including a bull, sheep, goat, rabbit and shark.