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article imageReview: ‘Twenty Ways to Stuff a Cat’ Special

By Alexander Baron     Jun 28, 2013 in Politics
Edinburgh - This one is really nowhere nearly as bad as it sounds, honest. In a mere 20 minutes, Ian Sansom takes us through the history of stuffing animals.
For those who can receive it, this BBC Radio 3 programme is currently on iPlayer. Originally broadcast in November last year, it is a fast though fascinating romp through the profession of taxidermy. Although we can't see him, we are assured that presenter Ian Sansom is in an Edinburgh taxidermy studio in the presence of a professional.
There is a lot of information in this programme, some of it you would probably not wish to have known, but other... Did you know for instance that the Feejee Mermaid exhibited by Prince of Humbug Phineas T. Barnum was the creation of a taxidermist: the torso and head of a young monkey sewn onto the back of a fish?
The  Feejee Mermaid  is usually displayed rotated 90 degrees clockwise. When it was swimming it woul...
The "Feejee Mermaid" is usually displayed rotated 90 degrees clockwise. When it was swimming it would probably have looked like this. Without the monkey's head, of course.
Creative Commons
Okay, so you did, but there is a lot more here, and the good news is that you can download an early edition of a standard work on the subject from Project Gutenberg: Montagu Brown's Practical Taxidermy.
Curiously, the modern profession is said to be dominated by women, including Emily Mayer, the self-styled Chairbitch of the UK Guild Of Taxidermists. This is probably not the kind of sexual equality loony feminist Julia Long yearns for, and there are surely more edifying ways of preserving our heritage.
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