As you can see, the inscription below this sculpture, found in the Museum of Natural History, Washington, D.C., indicates you’re looking at a cast version of a hibernating ground squirrel.
In the museum, the casting is used for its ability to reach cold temperatures. The sculpture is tucked inside a nook that is refrigerated to mimic the sort of environment a ground squirrel is capable of withstanding while hibernating for the winter. Visitors to the museum are invited to reach into the nook and touch the casting to see just how cold the environment is.
What struck us as amusing was that the museum curators felt the need to announce in the inscription that the ground squirrel was cast. Apparently, this piece was so detailed and lifelike they had to ensure everyone that the exhibit was indeed not a live ground squirrel in order to get them to reach out and touch it. Now that’s precise casting.