Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Myth of the Human Body Exhibit

It was indeed an educational Sunday afternoon for the family. We went to see the Myth of the Human Body Exhibit in Taguig. It is an exhibit showcasing real human specimens preserved in a process called plastination. It has aroused the interest of people from all over the world. It was showcased in Las Vegas and Korea last year and is now in Manila till April 17 at the Neobabylon Building in Taguig. The exhibit was thought-provoking and eye-opening. Mind-boggling as well. Definitely a unique tool for learning a lot about the human body.

The first time I heard of this exhibit, I thought, it was just another science exhibit. You see, I was not a big biology fan back in high school. I passed my tests, but could have done better had I been more interested or passionate with the subject. So I was not all smiles when I learned we were going to see the exhibit. But when I caught a glimpse of the plastinated human bodies, my thought turned 180 degrees! I was beyond excited! :)

When we first entered the exhibit hall, we were amazed by the Renaissance-inspired decor. The place looked a bit familiar. I will tell you, in a bit, why.

I was expecting a tinge of creepiness or eeriness, because, hey, there are cadavers in the building, but I felt neither. I wish I could share more photos, but we were advised that picture-taking was not allowed inside the exhibit halls. I managed to sneak just a few snapshots:

As I mentioned earlier, the human bodies were preserved in a process called Plastination, a technique developed by Gunther von Hagens, a German anatomist. Plastination is a preservation process which usually takes around 6-12 months to complete. According to Wikipedia, the standard process of plastination involves fixation, dehydration, forced impregnation, and hardening. Once the preserved body has completed the process of plastination, it can now be manipulated and positioned in various poses. The preserved bodies can last up to a million years due to plastination.

There were around 300 preserved bodies in the exhibit, some positioned as sports players. As I remember, there was an archer, a runner, a soccer or football player, and a basketball player. These bodies, we later on learned, were that of ex-cons (whom had no known immediate family to claim the body at the time of death) donated for research by the Chinese government.
The exhibit was divided in six different halls, in which Greek gods represented the different systems of our body:

  • Poseidon - Respiratory system
  • Hercules - Muscular and Skeletal system
  • Hades - Circulatory system
  • Dionysos - Digestive system
  • Eros - Reproductive system
  • Zeus - Brain/nervous system
  • Artemis - Fetal system
Through this, people would easily understand each of our bodily systems, the process of birth, mysteries of life, stages of sickness, etc.

One of the exhibit's highlights was the Red Man -- a plastinated body made entirely of blood vessels encased in a glass box.

Some of the pieces were a bit disturbing, though. Especially the number of plastinated fetus found in the Artemis Hall...

Here are some of the trivial things we have learned in this exhibit (or maybe I've learned these in school but must have forgotten about them somehow...)
  • Babies have more bones than adults. The bones combine as they grow old.
  • Our bones are stronger than concrete!
  • Our lower digestive system is protected by epiploon (or bilbil)
  • Testicles are assymmetrical. One is 3 grams heavier than the other. Otherwise, they will cause friction; friction will cause heat; thus killing the sperm.
  • The eyes are 90% water. They're the first organ to decay when a person dies.
  • The size of the brain is almost equivalent to the size of 2 fists combined.
  • Intelligence cannot be measured by the size of the brain. The folds and convolusions of the brain can tell how smart or intelligent a person is. The more folds and convolusions, the smarter you are.
  • How can you tell if your heart is healthy? Join the knuckles and tips of your thumbs. Check what shape was formed in the space between. If it's diamond-shaped, then your heart is healthy.
  • You can tell if a person is right-handed or left-handed by where the bigger clavicle is. If a person has a bigger left clavicle, then he is left-handed.
  • You can also tell if a woman is left-handed or right-handed by the size of her breasts. If her right breast is smaller than her left, then she is right-handed.
  • Hair do not deteriorate.
The Myth of the Human Body exhibit is highly-recommended not just for students, but for everyone. It is a one-of-a-kind educational tool. Trust me, you will never see your body the same way after you've seen this exhibit.

The tickets are at Php 350 each. You may opt to have the guided tour without additional cost. The exhibit runs till April 17, 2011, and is located at Neobabylon building, 9 Bayani Road, AFPOVAI, Taguig City.

Post Script:
Once you step inside the halls of the Neobabylon building, the place might look familiar to you. It's because it has been used in several Pinoy telenovelas such as Lobo and Imortal. :)

1 comment:

  1. Hello I really like your Blog. Some of the highlight or main point about the exhibit is already here.

    I really like the Red Man.