Taxidermy evolved out of the tanning trade, whose practitioners preserved the skins of animals for use as clothing and blankets. In the early part of the 19th century, some of the first so-called trophy animals were crudely stuffed with scraps of fabric by upholsterers. Later in the Victorian Era, the art of taxidermy as we know it today evolved, pioneered by, among others, Carl Akeley, who worked at the Milwaukee Public Museum, the Field Museum in Chicago, and the American Museum of Natural History in New York.
Although Akeley was one of the leading innovators of taxidermy, excelling in the realistic mounting of mammals, later in his life he would reject the practice of bagging animals such as gorillas just so they could decorate a museum diorama, let alone a hunter's study. By the end of his life, Akeley had devoted himself to protecting these creatures—Africa's first national park was established in 1925 in no small part due his efforts.
Today, collectors of taxidermy have a range of animals and pieces to choose from. Gameheads are perhaps the most well known form of taxidermy. These include zebras, kudu, and other African animals whose heads are attached to pedestals that are designed to hang on a wall.
In the United States, the practice of mounting deer heads is very common, especially if it's a buck with a full rack of antlers. Complete animals known as full mounts tend to be of smaller species such as bobcats and fox, as well as skunks and raccoons.
Mounted fish is another popular taxidermy type. Birds from peacocks to pheasants to roosters mount well, too, as do quail and falcons.
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Skip the Taxidermy and Put Glowing Star Wars Heads On Your WallsGizmodo, March 25th
Continuing the recent decorating trend of glowing stuff smashing through walls we now have three of the most popular Star Wars characters joining the fray. Designed more for kids or gaming rooms these 3D heads are completely self-contained so there's...Read more
Traveling taxidermy teacher, former student to open art-meets-science lab and ...RedEye Chicago, March 23rd
Nearly two decades later, Kwapis, now 24, once again spends her time handling stuffed animal parts, only today she does it as a licensed taxidermist and internationally sought-after taxidermy instructor. A frustrated pre-law major at the University of...Read more
11-Year-Old's 'Taxidermy' Hobby Is Oddly Delightful (VIDEO)The Stir, March 18th
taxidermy Kids have hobbies like riding bikes, playing soccer, or crafting jewelry out of beads. Eleven-year-old Mackenzie McCarty's hobbies include Girl Scouts, bowling, archery, and taxidermy. Yes, Mackenzie does taxidermy -- the dead stuff. Steve...Read more
San Jose Woman Sentenced After State Officials Find Illegal Stuffed Wildlife ...CBS Local, March 18th
Zepeda told KPIX 5 that she had no idea her love of animals and fascination with exotic taxidermy from around the world would lead her afoul of the law. “They told me, the [officers], it's illegal to buy in California, but later,” Zepeda said. “First...Read more
Hero 11-Year-Old Mackenzie McCarty Makes Lovely Taxidermy from RoadkillJezebel, March 17th
Today's episode of The Steve Harvey Show featured the visibly uncomfortable host interviewing 11-year-old Mackenzie McCarty, a budding taxidermist who poses adorable little dead mice in fanciful costumes. It was even better than you're already imagining...Read more
Stuffing instead of potatoes: Local girl likes taxidermyPhilly.com, March 16th
IT WAS the death of her mother's pet squirrel that sparked 11-year-old Mackenzie McCarty's interest in taxidermy. The sixth-grader from the Philly 'burbs will get to showcase her talents today at 2 p.m. on NBC10's "Steve Harvey" show, where she will...Read more
Why I Am Not a TaxidermistNew York Times (blog), March 16th
I've since curated taxidermy exhibits, visited more natural history museums than I knew existed, and corresponded with taxidermy collectors, curators and artists from across the globe. But back then, I was just writing a book on a subject I found oddly ...Read more
Portlandia Vine Recap: Taxidermy is for the BirdsIFC (blog), March 14th
An entire season of Portlandia has come and gone and Bryce Shivers (Fred) and Lisa Eversman (Carrie) are brought things full circle by once again putting birds on things. Sort of. Instead of delving into the world of DIY taxidermy, watch these six...Read more