Dead animals as far as the eye can see

I just got back from a workshop at Case Western Reserve University on various large-angular-scale puzzles in observations of the cosmic microwave background radiation.  I wrote a bit about one aspect of this topic a while ago.  Maybe I’ll write some more about the science soon.  For now, though, here are some pictures from a behind-the-scenes tour of the Cleveland Museum of Natural History arranged for us by the workshop organizers.

Once the tour guides found out we were astrophysicists, they kept trying to tell us we should see the museum’s telescope and planetarium.  But we’ve all seen a telescope or two in our day.  I’d much rather see dinosaur bones.

The tour lived up to its billing as “behind the scenes”: we didn’t actually look at any of the exhibits on display to the public.  We started in a huge refrigerated room housing all of the mounted animals that they don’t have room to display.  These pictures don’t give a good sense of the scale of the place, unfortunately:



(Click on an image to enlarge.)

Off in a corner somewhere in this room is, for some reason, a boar shot by Nikita Khrushchev:


In addition to the storage area, we went to the area where the curatorial staff works on preserving and studying the animals.  There’s a huge human bone collection (which I don’t have pictures of).  In the zoological specimen area, we walked past this turtle, which I think gives a little hint of the difficulties that this work must involve:


Some parts of the work I do are difficult, but I never have to deal with moth-infested turtles.

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Ted Bunn

I am an associate professor of physics at the University of Richmond. In addition to teaching a variety of undergraduate physics courses, I work on a variety of research projects in cosmology, the study of the origin, structure, and evolution of the Universe. University of Richmond undergraduates are involved in all aspects of this research. If you want to know more about my research, ask me!

9 thoughts on “Dead animals as far as the eye can see”

  1. Being an animal lover myself, I must admit I was not impressed by dead animals as far as the eye can see. Why cant people just go to the zoo and see live animals rather than hunt them down and stuff them.

  2. Gosh that must have been quite a surreal experience! I remember visiting a castle just outside Prague a few years ago which was absolutely full of stuffed animals. Rather creepy I felt but I guess there is a place for everything….

  3. Whilst I have no problem with stuffed animals if they died naturally, I do have a problem with them been hunted to be stuffed. I must admit though, the pictures are impressive.

  4. We have to consider that many kids in the future may never see many live animals. This way can at least ensure that they will know what they looked like.

  5. Fantastic pictures and I guess this does preserve animals for future generations – as long as hunting etc limits are adhered too. Personally not a job I could do! Thanks for the information 🙂

  6. As a photographer of animals and nature these images are somewhat difficult to look at, at the same time, at the rate that species of animals are progressing from critically endangered to extinct animals that are preserved by taxidermy may be the only way we will ever get to see some of these marvelous creatures. Thank you for your post and thought provoking article.

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