Yesterday was a great day getting scientific at Science World in Vancouver. For the last 4 or more months there has been a display at the Vancouver Science World that I have been wanting to see ‘Getting Under Nature’s Skin’ exhibition by Body Worlds.
The display is a collection of plasticised animals, birds, and sea creatures that has been created by Gunther von Hagens, the German Anatomist and inventor of plastination. Gunther first became famous for his Body Works display in which he created a collection of plasticised human bodies (I have always wanted to see this exhibition so I really hope it comes to Vancouver again).
Along with plasticising bodies, Gunther is also famous for his TV shows ‘Anatomy for Beginners’ and ‘Autopsy: Inside Out’ where he performed live dissections on donated cadavers. I thought both series were fascinating and I think Gunther himself is an incredible man who has dedicated his life to learning more about human and animal bodies.
Over the years he has been criticised by people claiming that he has taken things too far and that his work disrespects the reverence towards the human body in death, but I would counter argue that by saying he hasn’t taken things far enough yet. He only uses bodies and animals donated to science and through his work we are learning more and more about the living world around us. He’s even publicly announced that upon his own death he will donate his body to science so he may continue to help educate people about the marvels of the human body.
I could keep talking about Gunther von Hangens for hours but I shan’t, I shall get back on point which is talking about the Getting Under Nature’s Skin exhibition.
Getting into the exhibition cost just over $30 for an adult ticket with no concessions. Although it’s not a cheap day out, as mentioned already, I really, really wanted to see this display so was more than happy to pay the fee to get in. The display itself is on the second floor of the museum. To protect the pieces there were some obvious rules that needed to be followed, no touching, no food or drink and no flash photography.
Walking into the exhibition you are met by a giant squid that has been preserved and opened up from the top of its hood to it’s beak. It’s quite spectacular to see and certainly does a good job of setting the scene for the rest of the exhibition. Moving through the exhibition you get to see skeletons of birds and animals and to my surprise and delight there are some human exhibits too. The exhibition is amazing and I really struggle to put into words how interesting I found it. I could have spend hours in there just staring and examining the displays from every angle. One of the best ways to show exactly what I mean is to look at the photos below. Pre-warning they are graphic:
Cross section of a leg bone