Most people swerve around road kill in hopes of avoiding the gore, or worse, the dreaded thwump that indicates you added your treadmarks to the list of said road kill's insults. But a few crazy people will screech to a halt to see what got hit. Two of these folks just happen to be researchers, Ben Labay and Adam Cohen from the Texas Natural Science Center at the University of Texas at Austin, and have been known to do something even weirder: peel them off the road, slather them in ink, make an impression on paper or cloth and call it art.

The technique, known as gyotaku, originated in Japan as a way for fishermen to keep track of the size and species they caught before heading to market. But it evolved into an art form no doubt because the resulting prints are both delicate and beautiful. Labay and Cohen have simply expanded gyotaku's traditional subjects of fish to include mammals, birds, insects, and anything they can get their hands on (road kill or not). The project is called Inked Animal. Here's a taste:

More Inked Animal images

Inked Animal prints for sale through Art.Science.Gallery in Austin, TX

Inked Animal prints on display through the end of this weekend at Once Over Coffee Bar, Austin, TX

Inked Animal on Facebook


Every day in the month of September, we are serving up a different science artist for your viewing pleasure. Can’t get enough? Check out what was featured on this day last year: A 3D model of an octopus by scientific illustrator Mieke Roth.