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7 unusual medical museums

dolphin stomach infected with parasites

Photo: jrmyst/Flickr

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Meguro Parasitological Museum

Location: Tokyo

Specialty: Parasites in all their gross-out glory

Gift shop grotesquerie: A tapeworm T-shirt

Billed (thankfully) as “the world’s only parasite museum,” the Meguro Parasitological Museum in Tokyo, or MPM, challenges visitors to “try to think about parasites without a feeling of fear, and take the time to learn about the wonderful world of the parasites.” We’re going to have to try real hard on that one. Still, the museum, which was established as a research facility by Satoru Kamegai in 1953, manages to pack ‘em in despite the unpleasantness of the subject at hand. The first floor of the museum offers a crash course in parasites, while the second floor showcases over 300 parasite specimens that are, predictably, dead, since they aren’t feeding off of other living creatures. (The lovely item pictured here is that of an unfortunate dolphin's parasite-ridden stomach.) The star attraction at MPM, you may ask? Behold, a 28.5-foot tapeworm, Diphyllobothrium nihonkaiense, extracted from the small intestine of a marinated trout-loving Japanese man. And there goes our plans for a sushi dinner …