Since December 2011, the Natural History Museum and Site-Eye Time-Lapse Films Ltd have been filming inside one of the beetle colonies used for bird skeleton preparation.
The results are fascinating, and we are delighted to share some of our favourite films online. We hope you enjoy them!
Warning: the films are graphic, showing specimens and their decomposition.
Our beetles don't eat feathers, so specimens are usually skinned before they reach the colonies. In this example we left the feathers intact to show how this large parrot’s amazing skull sits underneath its skin.
Watch our beetles prepare a Scarlet macaw (Ara macao) in 3D. You will need red and blue 3D glasses to watch the video.
Another large macaw, this time the first whole skeleton of this species prepared for our collections. Watch what happens to the bony ring that helped support its large eye.
This small pheasant was plucked but not de-fleshed when it went into the colonies. Watch how the articulated skeleton is exposed and remains mostly in its original position.