The man faced beetle (so called for obvious reasons) is actually a species of stink bug found in Madagascar, India, Sri Lanka, Burma, Thailand, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Phillippines, Papua New Guinea, New Caledonia, Japan, and South Korea.
Our bug is the species Catacanthus Nigripes, from Lombok, Indonesia.
Man Faced Beetle
A stink bug from Indonesia with unique markings on its back
Size: frame 4″ wide x 4″ tall x 1″ deep; beetle .5″ wide x 1″ long
A mermaid gaff, also called a fiji or feejee mermaid, is the torso and head of a juvenile monkey sewn onto the back half of a fish. They were common in sideshows and were advertised as mummified, real specimens of mermaids. The first one in the Western world dates back to 1822 when an American sailor bought the “original” fiji mermaid from Japanese soldiers. Fiji mermaids, however, were popular in Japan long before this. It was then given to P.T. Barnum, who used it in his sideshow.
Fiji mermaids are probably the most well-known taxidermy gaff after the jackalope, which is why we would like to add it to our collection.
I gave this ostrich skull to M as a Christmas present this past year. He loves ostriches and even wants a farm full of them one day.
Ostriches are large, flightless birds native to Africa. They are the largest species of bird still alive today and also lay the largest eggs. They can run up to 43 mph, the fastest land speed of any bird.
They can weigh anywhere from 139-320 lbs, and the males grow to be between 6’11” and 9’2″ while the females are from 5’7″ to 6’7″. Their lifespan is up to 40-45 years.
Ostriches are also known for their very large eyes- they have largest eyes of any land vertebrate, measuring 2 inches in diameter.
It is a myth that ostriches hide their heads in the sand when they feel threatened. They actually either lay flat on the ground to blend in with their surroundings or they will attack if they feel threatened enough. They can kick very powerfully with their legs, so much so that they can disembowel and kill a person with their long claws in a single blow.
An ostrich skull with a detached lower jaw is the biggest skull in our collection.
Size: 7.5″ long x 3.5″ wide x 3.25″ tall
From: Clear Creek Trading- Etsy
This was the first human bone in our collection. One day in Obscura we saw a jar of human rib bones for relatively cheap. They told us that they get their human bones from cadavers that are no longer of use to medical schools.
There are laws that one must follow if you would like to have human pieces in your collection. The main rule is that the item cannot be immediately viable. For example, you cannot buy a heart from a recently deceased person that could still be used for a heart transplant to save someone else’s life. However, once the item does not hold any potential value to a living person, it is acceptable to buy and sell human remains.
An old rib from a medical school cadaver
Size: 4 1/2″ long x 3/4″ wide
Quail is a collective name for many species of mid-sized birds in the order Galliformes. There are Old World quails and New World quails, which are two different families (Phasianidae and Odontophoridae, respectively). They are kept as pets, hunted for food, or used for their eggs.
We unfortunately do not know what species of quail we have, but it is cute!
A common kind of bird preserved in a glass jar.
Size: 1.5″ diameter x 3.25″ tall
From: Black Bear Bath Salts – Etsy
The pictures I included are of a polar bear skeleton, a grizzly bear, a cave bear skeleton, and a chart to show how big the cave bear was.
While we’re not too picky on what kind of bear, it would be really cool if we one day could get our hands on a cave bear skeleton or fossil! The cave bear went extinct about 27,500 years ago. Cave bears are most closely related to brown bears, with a last common ancestor dating to 1.2 to 1.4 million years ago.
Hopefully one day we’ll have a cave bear, but before that we’d love to acquire another species of bear skeleton too!
Snake wine is an alcoholic beverage that is made by infusing whole snakes in rice wine or grain alcohol. It is most common in China, and was first made during Western Zhou dynasty (1046-771 BCE). The snakes used are preferably venomous, such as cobras, and are sometimes infused with other species such as scorpions. Snake wine is thought to cure many things from farsightedness to hair loss, and is supposedly an aphrodisiac and general health aide. The snake venom is denatured by the ethanol so it’s ok to drink.
We love our bottle of snake wine. It’s definitely a favorite in our collection!
A snake and scorpion steeped in rice wine or grain alcohol
Size: 6″ wide x 3″ deep x 9″ tall