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Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania: Stuffed Lion Attacks Camel and Man (Gone)

A triumph of 1860s shock taxidermy showed a poor camel (and human camel-driver) about to become lunch for hungry Mr. Lion. Restoration in 2017 revealed a real human skull inside the driver's head! The entire diorama was permanently removed in October 2023.

Carnegie Museum of Natural History

In the first floor entry hall of the Carnegie Museum of Natural History. East of downtown, on the south side of Forbes Ave., at the corner of Forbes and S. Bellefield Aves.
Permanently removed Oct 2023.

Visitor Tips and News About Stuffed Lion Attacks Camel and Man

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Stuffed Lion Attacks Camel and Man

Back in 2017, a CT scan of this piece revealed that there's a real human skull and teeth in the man mannequin. The animals were known to contain animal bones, but this recent development was quite a shock! This exhibit always fascinated me as a child, and I still always go there whenever I'm in the museum!

[Mariah, 10/31/2018]

Lion vs. camel and rider.

Lion Attacks Camel and Man

The diorama is still a major attraction at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History. Formerly in the second floor Hall of African Wildlife, a recent renovation moved it to the first floor entry hall. A postcard and small history book about it are sold in the gift shop.

[Andrew McLaughlin, 04/04/2018]

Lion attacks camel and rider.

Diorama of Lion Attacking a Camel

"High Drama in the North African Desert" is a diorama created by French taxidermist and naturalist Jules Verreaux in 1867. It depicts a now extinct subspecies of Barbary lion attacking a very distraught-looking camel with an equally distraught Arab courier on the camel's back. As an innocent youth some 50 years ago, I remember seeing a picture of the diorama in an encyclopedia and thinking "Ewwwww!" I was surprised to stumble across the actual diorama a half-century later, and I still thought "Ewwwww!"

[John Takao Collier, 02/14/2016]

For years the diorama was named, "Arab Courier Attacked by Lions." Museum founder Andrew Carnegie bought it for $50 after it had been showcased at the Paris Exposition Universelle. In 2017 its named was changed again, to "Lion Attacking a Dromedary," and it was revealed that the man's head contained a real human skull.

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