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Why are there no human taxidermies?

Posted December 1, 2017

Taxidermied animals are everywhere. Hunters are decorating their houses with their most impressive pieces, museums are displaying animals, some of which are already extinct and some collectors are seeking for specifically old and bizarre looking taxidermied animals. But there are almost no taxidermied humans. Why?

Human taxidermy is difficult because we don’t have fur to hide seams and other defects. Image credit: Adam Kliczek, via Wikimedia(CC BY-SA 3.0 pl)

Taxidermy is a good technique of preserving the image of the animal, but that is about it – its internals get removed completely. And it is not like there are no people who would like to have taxidermied human remains or to be preserved in this way themselves. However, it is very hard to do right and all attempts in history have failed rather spectacularly.

Taxidermy is a process in which skin is removed from the body. Skin is all what matter – the rest is put away somewhere. The big part of the art is hiding imperfections and marks of the craft itself, such as seams cuts. However, humans don’t have fur, scales or feathers to hide these unsightly defects. Furthermore, our skin is not so stretchy and easy to preserve – it starts deteriorating quickly and its looks are completely destroyed as they dry.

However, it does not mean that people didn’t try. In fact, there were numerous attempts in history with a varying degree of success. It is not to say that human taxidermies are completely impossible. It is just that it would require different techniques and lot of work, which is not necessarily rewarded with great results. There are numerous other methods to preserve human body that are more effective.

More about human taxidermies in Ask A Mortician video

Death and everything related to it is both curious and scary. That is one of the reasons why we don’t see human taxidermies more often – it is difficult to answer the “Why?” question.


Source: Ask A Mortician

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