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taxidermy(tăk`sĭdûr'mē), process of skinning, preserving, and mounting vertebrate animals so that they still appear lifelike. The fur or feathers are cleaned, and the skin, treated with a cleansing and preserving preparation, is mounted on an artificial skeleton. At first, taxidermy was used for the preservation of skins, hunting trophies, and travel souvenirs. Animals were literally stuffed; they were hung downward and filled with straw. Today, taxidermy is employed mainly by museums of science, although by the early years of the 21st cent. the use of this process in dioramas and other museum displays had become much less common. Carl E. AkeleyAkeley, Carl Ethan
, 1864–1926, American naturalist, animal sculptor, and author, b. Orleans co., N.Y. He served (1887–95) at the Museum of Milwaukee; from 1895 to 1909 he was at the Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago, and from 1909 he was affiliated with the
..... Click the link for more information. devised a method of mounting that is now standard. The true contours of the specimen are preserved by making a clay model, exactly duplicating the animal's muscle structure, over an armature that includes the original skeleton or parts of it. A plaster mold is then made, from which is produced a light, durable frame that holds the skin in position. Synthetic materials, especially celluloids, are now often used to reproduce the true color and translucence of such specimens as reptiles and fishes.
See M. Milgrom, Still Life (2010).
the stuffing and mounting of animals, in which a metal or wooden framework forms the base. If soft stuffing material is used, such as oakum or cotton batting, the necessary shape is imparted as the hide is stuffed. If an artificial body is used, the skin is stretched over a rigid model of the animal. The artificial body is a copy of the animal in a particular pose. It may be made by winding soft material onto a framework, or it may consist of a metal mesh, papier-mâché, or plastic. (See alsoPREPARATION.)