Animal Inside Out Exhibition

12 April 2012 / All photos: ANP /

Accused of amoral ghoulishness over a previous exhibition, Body Worlds, that featured a preserved foetus and a flayed horseman with a split skull, Von Hagens has now tackled the animal world.
Like the humans displayed in Body Worlds, they are preserved using a process called plastination, invented by Von Hagens at Heidelberg University in 1977.
Set to open to the public from April 6th, the brand new exhibit showcases nearly 100 plastinated animals and capillary specimens and will run until the 16th of September at the Waterhouse Gallery of the Natural History Museum in London.

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.

A plastinated bull.

Blood capillaries can be seen in a horse's head.

A plastinated ostrich shows its muscle structure.


A horse's head sawn through, showing its inner workings.

A plastinated elephant and giraffe on display.

A shark 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.

A plastinated bull.

A plastinated gorilla reveals the animal's muscular structure.

Plastinated ostriches showing their muscle structure and blood capillaries.

A woman examines a plastination of a shark.