Check out this project in which people get tattoos of endangered species. Here’s more at New Scientist. If any participants want to submit a piece for the Science Tattoo Emporium, I’ll be waiting!
This is beautiful but I wonder how well it will age. The more detail one puts in a small area, the greater the tendency to smearing and distorting over time. The biggest, simplest designs last the longest. Generally most tattoos require a touch-up or two, but the more detailed ones like this probably need more.
So I expect the wing structure to probably endure better toward the edges, but the subtler shading on the back and head may not look as good in 10 years without a touch-up.
Although this guide is ostensibly written for girls thinking about a tattoo, all of the advice looks practical and grounded in medical science on first glance. In particular, their admonition that “bigger is better” with tattoos is really true when you consider the effects of aging and the skin stretching.
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Carl Zimmer writes about science regularly for The New York Times and magazines such as DISCOVER, which also hosts his blog, The Loom. He is the author of 12 books, the most recent of which is Science Ink: Tattoos of the Science Obsessed.