The human taxidermist, or medical taxidermist, has had a chequered history. The ability to prepare and preserve human bodies and body parts developed in parallel with the progress of medicine. In antiquity, the "dissection" of corpses was done for the study of the body and for training purposes by researchers and doctors.
In the Middle Ages, when surgery was separated from medicine, the practical execution of an autopsy was the responsibility of the prosector (dissector, dissection assistant). Afterwards, the practical and technical activities were again taken over by doctors and the prosector was displaced from the dissection table.
The 19th century brought many new developments in the field of taxidermy, and with it came a rise to partner with surgeons and anatomists. The human taxidermist once again became the right hand of the researching and teaching physician. Through the further development of many techniques, a gradual separation between prosectors and preparators then took place in the 20th century. The separate profession of the human taxidermist was thus able to emerge.
How does one become a human taxidermist?
Probably the most frequent question we are asked...
Unfortunately, human taxidermy is no longer an apprenticeship in Switzerland as it is known today. First of all, you need a company where you are trained. Parallel to this, self-study forms the largest part of the training. Further training courses (voluntary) and internships (compulsory) are also part of the training and if you meet the specified criteria, you can finally take an examination to become a human taxidermist with a federal certificate.
Since a completed initial training is necessary, one is normally also paid like a trained person.
You can learn a lot of interesting facts about our profession through the disciplines of forensic medicine, pathology and anatomy (see professional information).
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