“We're pushing animal anatomy to a new level with this exhibition,” von Hagens, also known widely in the German media as “Dr. Death,” said during a press conference.
Described by his organisation as an “anatomical safari,” the exhibition beginning on Friday features more than 100 pieces, giving visitors a view beneath the surface of an elephant, brown bear, squid, giraffe, leopard, gorilla and other exotic creatures.
According to von Hagens, there were no “problems of dignity” in the plastination of these animals, because they were already to be disposed of as “rubbish” after they died.
The Neunkirchen Zoo donated several of the animal bodies for the process, which von Hagens invented, including a 3.2-tonne elephant he claims is the world's largest plastination.
The exhibition runs until May 2, after which it may move to the United States, where the famous San Diego Zoo has reportedly already expressed an interest.