Here's a big difference between nature and a natural history museum: In the wild, when you find a skeleton of anything, it's seldom arranged in a neat, orderly, anatomically correct manner. Even if an animal dies in captivity, nature won't just conveniently produce a skeleton suitable for mounting.
So how do museums get the perfect skeletal specimens that you see behind glass?
The answer: Lots and lots and lots of tedious work. Plus the assistance of a few thousand flesh-eating bugs.
This video from the University of Michigan traces the creation of a bat skeleton, from a fleshy dead bat in a jar, to a neat, little set of bones in a display case. It's painstaking (and moderately disgusting) work. Sort of like building model cars, if the Ford Mustang had realistic organ tissue.
Thanks to Neil Shurley!
Yesterday a homeless woman at New Haven Green park in Connecticut noticed something odd tangled in the roots of a huge oak tree torn from the ground by Superstorm Sandy: a human skeleton. Apparently, The Green was used as a burial ground until 1821. The headstones were eventually moved but the bodies were not. "Skeletal Remains Found In Upended Tree" (New Haven Independent)
Over at Digitprop, a free PDF to make this delightful papercraft skeleton.
Nike Women's new performance tights digitally printed with X-ray images.
Juxtapoz shares some startling new paper sculptures by Danish artist Peter Callesen. We first posted in 2005 about Callesen's exquisite papercraft sculptures from single sheets of A4.
I'm really digging the look of Dr. Paul Koudounaris' new book, The Empire of Death: A Cultural History of Ossuaries and Charnel Houses.
Don't yet have a copy in my hands (it's not out 'til October), but I've pre-Amazonned one for myself. The book is packed with hundreds of gorgeous color photographs of these sites throughout the world, many of which are usually inaccessible to outsiders.
Here's the project website, and here's the publisher's feature page. The first show and signing takes place at La Luz de Jesus gallery in Los Angeles on Sept. 24.
Here is the author/artist's statement, and here is a collection of related essays by Dr. Koudounaris.
Advance order here for $31.50. View more photos and a sneak peek inside the book, below...
Read the rest