ADVERTISEMENT

Last-of-Its-Kind Tortoise Gets Royal Treatment from Taxidermists [Slide Show]

Preserving an iconic animal like Lonesome George is all about the details

1 of 8

LONESOME GEORGE:

Lonesome George lived to be at least 100 years old. He was discovered on Pinta Island in 1972 after many believed his species was already extinct. Despite attempts to find George a mate, he never produced any offspring.....[ More ]

REFERENCE CASTS:

The taxidermists have made several copies of George’s head and feet. These casts are made from polyester resin out of dental alginate molds.....[ More ]

PRESERVING SKIN TEXTURE:

The casts will give a detailed representation of Lonesome George’s skin texture. The taxidermists will wrap George’s skin around a detailed foam model of his muscles. In case any damage had occurred somewhere along the way, they will be able to correct any inexact details using clay.....[ More ]

CREATING MOLDS:

After Lonesome George defrosted, the taxidermists made molds of his legs, feet and head. In this picture George’s foot is dipped in dental alginate to make a negative mold. Taxidermists then fill the resulting mold to make positive reference casts of the tortoise’s limbs.....[ More ]

MEASURING GEORGE:

Lonesome George finally thawed after he arrived at Wildlife Preservations, a taxidermy studio in Woodland Park, N.J., where taxidermists meticulously take the tortoise’s measurements as a reference to help them sculpt most of the animal’s anatomy out of clay.....[ More ]

LONESOME AND COLD:

George arrived at the AMNH completely frozen. Museum scientists inspect George in his frozen state to make sure that he had not been damaged in transit.....[ More ]

UNWRAPPING LONESOME GEORGE:

Layers of wet cloth, cotton and plastic had been wrapped around George to keep him frozen. Here, conservation and taxidermy experts at the AMNH unwrap Lonesome George. Behind them is the pink fiberglass insulation that lined the inside of George’s box.....[ More ]

SPECIAL DELIVERY:

Lonesome George arrives at the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) from the Galápagos, ready for inspection. The insulated wooden crate was custom-made for George. George’s body is 1.5 meters long and weighs about 90 kilograms.....[ More ]

risk free title graphic

YES! Send me a free issue of Scientific American with no obligation to continue the subscription. If I like it, I will be billed for the one-year subscription.

cover image Subscribe Now
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
Share this Article:
Scientific American Holiday Sale

Give a Gift &
Get a Gift - Free!

Give a 1 year subscription as low as $14.99

Subscribe Now! >

X

Email this Article

X