The act of taxidermy - the preservation of an animal's form - has been practised since antiquity, with early civilizations focusing on the conservation of the skin. Taxidermy, as it is known today, is the process of stuffing the whole or part of the body, or mounting it on a surface. Animals commonly preserved in this way include fish, butterflies, and birds; however, exotic animals like lions and peacocks can also be stuffed or mounted. Hunting enthusiasts often display their catch as trophies, with deer and moose heads being common in the United States; these are also a popular choice of wall art amongst non-hunters. Trophies can be transformed into other forms of decor, e.g. bear skin rugs. Despite the extensive history of taxidermy and it being considered a skilful art form, many today opt for faux versions for ethical reasons.
John James Audubon's magnum opus showcased American birds as never before in the 19th century and is now among the world's priciest books.