Body Worlds: Animal Inside Out Comes to Vancouver – 100 preserved animals on display at Science World

Image from Animal Inside Out

Ready to see your favourite animals … inside-out?

More than 100 meticulously preserved and dissected animals are on display now at Science World as part of the new exhibit Body Worlds: Animal Inside Out. From the familiar (dogs, cows, goats) to the exotic (giraffes, octopus, camels), the whole animal kingdom is on display in downtown Vancouver – sans skin.

The unique exhibit is made possible through the science of plastination. Developed in the ’70s by anatomist (and Body Worlds founder) Dr. Gunther von Hagens, the process replaces water and soluble fat in specimens with plastics. Tissues, muscles and organs are carefully preserved, allowing for up-close inspection. 

Image from Animal Inside Out

Image from Animal Inside Out

Inside Science World, the eerie menagerie of animals – in various states of dissection – are arranged in lifelike poses. There’s a barking dog that’s been stripped of its fur to display the rich network of red capillaries underneath. A five-metre tall giraffe raises its head to the ceiling, exposing the massive ligament supporting its long neck. A Bactrian camel – internal organs on vivid display – dips its neck for a drink, while its skinless calf wanders nearby. There’s even a human being, whose head has been split into three sections to show the intricate anatomy within.

This isn’t the first time that Body Worlds has made an appearance at Science World. In 2006, more than 340,000 visitors poured into the science centre for a glimpse of carefully preserved human bodies. Though somewhat controversial at the time, that exhibit has returned to Vancouver in different forms on multiple occasions over the years, drawing huge crowds.

Image from Animal Inside Out

Image from Animal Inside Out

Indeed, Body Worlds itself is a global phenomenon. Since its first presentation in 1995, Body Worlds has exhibited its unique collections at more than 50 museums and venues around the world. The franchise has earned Dr. Von Hagens and his plastination institute nearly $100 million over the years.

Though the latest exhibit may seem a bit macabre, its purposes are educational. According to organizers, the goal is to inspire wonder in the animal world and awareness of the fragility of life. The exhibit is also set up to highlight the similarities that underlie the animal kingdom, from skeletal structures to muscles and organs. It’s also worth noting that all of the animals displayed died of natural causes.

Body Worlds: Animal Inside Out is on display from Oct. 3-March 28 at Telus World of Science in Vancouver. Ticket prices range from $19.25 to $29.50.

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