In eighteenth-century New Spain, the concern of expeditionaries and collectors about avoiding or delaying the deterioration and loss of their animalia collections was not a minor problem but an important issue that involved many and diverse, visible and invisible actors. They all contributed, in one way or another, to the search for the best way of preserving specimens, some of them used by surgeons and others by embalmers of human corpses. The aim of this paper is to show the phases in the life, death and transformation of natural history specimens linked to day-to-day preservation practices, a work that was essential, but extremely demanding and paradoxically unseen.
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