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Preserved Human Bodies Exhibit Opens In Las Vegas

Edison Graff/Stardust Fallout Media.

You may have seen “Bodies: The Exhibition” at the Luxor.

Now there’s a new, unaffiliated show at Bally’s that uses the same process to preserve human bodies.

Real Bodies” showcases 20 preserved bodies and more than 200 other specimen.

“There is a little morbid curiosity in all of this,” said Tom Zaller, the CEO of Imagine Exhibitions, which put together the show. 

He said first-time visitors to the show are "wowed" and "taken a back" by it. 

“They’re beautiful," he said of the preserved bodies, "It makes your realize how beautiful we all are inside.”

The specimens are made with a process called plastination, which essentially replaces water and fat with plastics. 

It was originally created to preserve bodies for medical schools, but after an anatomical society in Japan displayed its collection, other exhibitions sprang up.

These types of displays have been controversial because the bodies that are used are "unclaimed." 

Zaller explained the specimens - as he calls them - are people who have died, but have remained unidentified. Those unidentified bodies are used for several different purposes from medical schools to crime scene investigation training.

The doctor he works with in China takes the unidentified bodies in the region preserves them and then puts them on display.  

Zaller said he wanted this display to be more than just showing off bodies. 

“At the core, the exhibition is an anatomy lesson but there is so much more to us, to who we are and how we got to where we are,” he said.

"Real Bodies" at Bally's takes people through the cycle of life and death, he said. It shows how we move, eat and breath. It also shows how humans show love and some of the unique ways cultures around the world honor the dead. Zaller said it is peppered with factoids about the human body.

 “So, it’s a thoughtful and beautiful approach,” he said.

Tom Zaller, CEO, Imagine Exhibitions

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Kristy Totten is a producer at KNPR's State of Nevada. Previously she was a staff writer at Las Vegas Weekly, and has covered technology, education and economic development for the Las Vegas Review-Journal. She's a graduate of the Missouri School of Journalism.