I remember a group of us sneaking out of Biology class in college to take a peek at the cadavers in the next classroom. It only took the sight of one tagged big toe before I felt light headed, nauseous and had to escape…quickly. Apparently, I’m a wimp when it comes to dead people. This is why I agreed to see BODIES The Exhibition at the Luxor in Las Vegas. To redeem myself.

The exhibition has over 200 human bodies and specimens.

The specimens at the exhibit are preserved using a process called polymer preservation where silicone rubber is used to permanently preserve the human tissue. The process can take anywhere from a week to a full year, depending on the size of the part. I was pretty sure, that because of this, they wouldn’t have the same sour smell of my prior cadaver experience.

But, I purposely hadn’t eaten lunch prior to my arrival. Just in case. 

We were greeted by several full-body specimens, a glimpse into our muscular system. I was too fascinated to be nauseous. Phew. It is said the muscular system is like the engine that drives our bodies, contracting to move blood vessels, bones and even food. If there was any doubt, seeing the intricacy of each form removed it. It is the engine.

Each of the, seemingly countless, areas highlighted a different system; muscular, skeletal, nervous, respiratory, digestive, urinary, etc. It was easy to be overwhelmed, and feel light-headed, just by discovering the complexity of our bodies.

Not only were there full-bodies to look at, but just about every part of the human body was meticulously dissected. Even the tiniest bone in the body, the stirrup found in the ear, was represented. It is about 1/10th of an inch long. Tiny.

I was particularly fascinated with viewing the differences between a smokers and non-smokers lungs. The normal flesh color had turned to that of ash. I was happy at the thought that my lungs must still be a fleshy pigment.

Though you can not touch the displays there was an opportunity to hold a lung and, of course, I did.

This exhibit was an exploration of the human body rather than being the creepiness of “seeing dead people”. For that I am grateful. And my stomach is too.

Have you seen the BODIES exhibition?