healthHealth and Medicine

This Human Has Been "Designed" To Survive In Car Crashes


Robin Andrews

Science & Policy Writer


Enjoy your nightmares. TAC Victoria

Thanks to increasing safety standards, driving has never been safer. Ultimately, the proliferation of autonomous cars may usher in a time wherein almost no vehicular accidents occur at all. However, just last year, there were at least 1.25 million deaths from traffic accidents worldwide – far more than any other form of transport.

In fact, the odds of dying in a car crash are roughly one in 5,000. This can be compared to air travel, where the risks are as much as one in 11 million. In order to highlight how dangerous driving a car can be, the Transport Accident Commission (TAC) of Victoria, Australia, are showcasing a rather unusual sculpture that depicts a human that has "evolved" specifically to survive car crashes.


As reported by the Smithsonian, the creation by Melbourne-based artist Patricia Piccinini is so otherworldly and terrifying that once you see it, you can’t unsee it. With the help of Christian Kenfield, a trauma surgeon at Royal Melbourne hospital, and David Logan, a crash investigator at Monash University, this artist has given life to nothing short of a physical monstrosity – one that has been given the jarringly innocuous name of “Graham.”

Once you get past the revulsion induced by this thoroughly weird apparition, you may begin to spot that it has no neck. Many people involved in car crashes injure or even break their necks when their metallic box on wheels comes to a sudden and dramatic stop, but as Graham has no neck, he cannot possibly break it. His reinforced skull is designed to stop his brain bouncing around in the event of a high-speed collision.

His flat, fat-covered face means that his nearly non-existent nose and ears will not be crushed against the steering wheel. This thick, tough skin is bolstered by the pockets of air in-between his ribs, all of which serve to act as a biological “airbag” to prevent injury to the internal organs. His knees, rather disturbingly, bend in all directions, ensuring that a car accident won’t see them being snapped backwards in the wrong direction.

 Meet Graham. TAC Victoria via YouTube


"Cars have evolved a lot faster than humans,” chief executive of the TAC, Joe Calafiore, told the Guardian. “Graham helps us understand why we need to improve every aspect of our roads system to protect ourselves from our own mistakes."

Graham can be visited at the State Library of Victoria until August 8, after which he will go on a tour in Australia. If you aren’t able to see him in person, then a rather bizarre 360-degree view of the silicone, fiberglass, resin, and human hair sculpture can be seen if you click here.


Graham's ribs are full of biological airbags. TAC Victoria

[H/T: Guardian]


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