The Newest Plan to Save Endangered Species: Science Tattoos!

By Andrew Moseman | December 3, 2009 12:21 pm

henrystattoooHere at DISCOVER, we’re major science tattoo aficionados. In addition to hosting blogger Carl Zimmer’s ever-expanding Science Tattoo Emporium, we engaged Bad Astronomy blogger Phil Plait and our CEO and publisher Henry Donahue in an agreement to get tattoos themselves if the Web site’s traffic tripled (Henry’s resulting tat is seen to the left). So we were understandably excited to learn that the newest plan to save Britain’s endangered species involves needles and ink.

ExtInked, a project out of an arts collective in Manchester, England, chose 100 of the U.K.’s most endangered plants and animals and spent much of last weekend tattooing the images of those flora and fauna onto the bodies of 100 volunteers. Jai Redman, one of the project leaders, drew all the life-forms himself.

From The Guardian:

I am fascinated to know what sort of person will be attracted to this. Will it be the fertile breeding ground Jai hopes for? Will anybody choose the boring Millipede or the Big Blue Pinkgill? From the enquiries the artists have been getting, looks like it is going to be a mixed bag. There are fusty writery sorts (me), well-illustrated tattoo fans, environmental activists – and a surprising number who are really quite ordinary.

According to New Scientist, one woman, a conservationist, cried when she arrived too late to participate. Many others had to deal with not getting their first choice, but got inked up anyway. Given the volunteers’ simultaneous dedication to body emblems and science, we can only say that they belong here with us in the Science Tattoo Emporium. If you all are reading, hit up Carl Zimmer at [blog at carlzimmer dot com].

Related Content:
The Loom: The Science Tattoo Emporium, now featuring well over 200 images.
Bad Astronomy: My Secret Nefarious Inky Plan Revealed!
Discoblog: DISCOVER CEO Makes Good On Promise, Gets Science Tattoo

  • Dennis

    Has Phil Plait’s tattoo been revealed to the public yet?
    If so, where can I see it.
    If not, why?

  • Andrew Moseman


    It has not. Phil has tried out to be on the TV show L.A. Ink (Here’s a vid of him talking about it on our YouTube channel: ), so he can’t reveal his yet.

  • Dennis

    Hmm – thanks for the response, but I’m confused…
    Hasn’t he already been inked?
    How do you try out for a show about getting tattooed if you’ve already been tattooed?
    Or did the show tape his inking and just hasn’t decided whether or not to air it?
    Sorry – I’m sure Dr. Plait will tell the whole story eventually, I’m just not good at delaying gratification of curiosity :)

  • Dennis

    Ok, I found this blog post:,
    which explained that it was in fact filmed for an episode of L.A. Ink – sorry, it was the idea of an audition that threw me off.
    Weird that he has to refrain from showing it off until the show airs.
    He must be dying to show it off.


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