Photo courtesy Body Worlds "Oh, he was definitely a brotha," snickered one teenager to his friends as they stared at the dead man's penis. Considering the man wasn't so much a man any more as a real-live-but-still-dead plastinated skeleton with equally plastinated muscle tissue attached, it was impossible to know for sure what color his skin had been when he was alive. Not that that stopped the visitors at the California Science Center's "Body Worlds" exhibit from speculating.
The exhibit featured more than a dozen plastinated human bodies (the second installment is now running) ranging from plain skeletons to skeletons with muscles to other combinations, such as one skeleton with just the nerves attached. (For a full explanation of plastination, see the "Body Worlds" website at www.bodyworlds.com.) It captured the physicality of the human body like no high school anatomy class ever could. Only despite its remarkableness, walking around the exhibit proved an experience not too far removed from high school.
"Dang," said one male friend, glancing at a rather-built, muscular body posed in the stance of a basketball player. "Good Lord!" said another, this one female, mouth agape over the wang on a plastinated body that had been positioned holding his entire outer layer of skin—a "skin suit," they called it—in his hand.
And yet, inferiority complexes aside, the learning continued for all: "Mommy!" one young girl was overheard exclaiming, "Look at that penis! It's a hairy one!"
"BODY WORLDS 2" (HIGHLIGHTS INCLUDE THE "SUICIDE BY FAT—OBESITY REVEALED" SPECIMEN) IS CURRENTLY ON EXHIBIT AT THE CALIFORNIA SCIENCE CENTER, 700 STATE DR., LOS ANGELES, (323) SCIENCE. OPEN DAILY, 10 A.M.-9 P.M. THROUGH MARCH 27. $5.75-$12. ALL AGES.