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A Living Archive of the Dead: Extinction Tattoos Photo Essay
Amanda Reed, 27 Aug 10

Five years ago today Jamais Cascio looked back at Alex Steffen's essay on "The Culture of Extinction" in which Alex made a powerful and moving suggestion: the creation of a living archive of the dead:

So, here's my modest proposal: I propose that we start wearing the dead on our skin.

Images exist of a great many extinct species, and I expect the proportion of well-documented extinctions to increase in the next couple decades. I propose that we assemble and maintain a database of names, pictures and information on species which have gone or are clearly soon to go extinct. I propose we make it possible for people to "adopt" a dead species, on one condition.

That condition? That you have an image of that species tattooed on your body in a visible place, with the Linnaean name underneath.

In honor of this small anniversary, and in the spirit of some Friday fun, I thought I'd share some photos I've collected of people who have acted on Alex's idea. I hope you enjoy these images and please let us know if you've got an extinction tattoo too!

Adder Snake (via EXT INKED Facebook Photos)

Black Grouse (via EXT INKED Facebook Photos)

Mole Cricket (via extInked at the Ultimate Holding Company website)

Pine Marten (via EXT INKED Facebook Photos)

Snort Snouted Seahorse (via EXT INKED Facebook Photos)

Dodo Bird (via Discover Magazine's Science Tattoo Emporium)

Deinonychus (via Discover Magazine's Science Tattoo Emporium)

Trilobite (via Discover Magazine's Science Tattoo Emporium)

Check out these outside links for more images and stories about tattoos of extinct and endangered animals:

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I was flabbergasted with the designs. I wish I could have one too!

Posted by: Rudolph Osborne on 29 Aug 10

Agree with OP. Love the designs!

Posted by: surfingjoe on 30 Aug 10

Check out a more positive version of this idea: people wearing tattoos of diminishing species they vow to work hard to protect! Much more of a worldchanging tone, I think.

Posted by: Lindsey on 31 Aug 10

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