Bobby the Gorilla
The taxidermy of Bobby the gorilla was created by Karl Kaestner and Gerhard Schröder in 1936 and is a masterpiece of its kind! It is on display in the Preparation Exhibition of the Museum.
Bobby arrived as a two year-old at the Berlin Zoo in 1928. He was purchased from an animal dealer and was the first gorilla in Germany that developed from child to adult, although he never quite matured physically. Bobby was very good-natured. He was given a young chimpanzee as a playmate, which he graciously accepted. He died in 1935 of appendicitis. The post-mortem examination revealed that his pituitary gland had been underdeveloped, which is why Bobby never quite matured physically.
A Masterpiece of Taxidermy
Bobby the gorilla is a prime example of what taxidermy can achieve. It remains a masterwork of its kind The two preparators developed a new paraffin substitution technique for preserving sparsely-haired body parts. This impregnation method prevents the shrinking of the preparation during the drying process. The water contained in cell tissue is substituted by solid compounds such as paraffin or polyethylene glycol. Thus, it becomes possible to integrate these parts into the mounted animal. In primates where the face, hand and feet are crucial for an authentic appearance, this technique is invaluable.