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Animal Preparation (Taxidermy)

The history of taxidermy in Europe cannot be evidenced completely but can be traced back to the 13th century. At the latest since Renaissance, princes and scholars built up cabinets of natural history and curiosity collections and gathered stuffed animals there.
For conservation only methods as salting or drying were known and so most of these preparations fell victim to moths and bugs.

The history of modern taxidermy begins in the 18th century. Mostly the animals were hunting trophies which often were sent to museums. However, because the taxidermists rarely could observe the animals in their natural habitat the preparations seldom looked lifelike. Mostly the hides were sewed together, mounted on wire frames and then "stuffed" with straw, moss, peat or old rags. These collections were primarily aimed at research with no access for visitors.

When the first zoos opened in the middle of the 19th century, in direct comparison between the preparations and the living animals the differences became apparent; taxidermists were forced to find enhanced methods to create more naturalistic preparations.

Today a wide choice of animal photos and films makes a critical comparison between a preparation and the animal even more possible. Modern preparations are natural copies of the living animal.
Animal preparations are still of great importance to science; changes in a species over a period of time can be observed.

The museum animals are around 100 years old and were prepared with older methods. The smaller animals have wire frames as bodies; the hides of bigger animals cover plaster models. All bigger animals are mounted on platforms, the birds to branches. The characteristic long "seams" are plainly visible.