The name refers to any one of the three species (A. atropos, A. styx and A. lachesis) of moth in the genus Acherontia. These moths are easily distinguishable by the vaguely human skull-shaped pattern of markings on the thorax. These moths have several unusual features. All three species have the ability to emit a loud squeak if irritated.
The two of the tree species named after the Moirai in Greek mythology (the Fates) Lachesis (allotter) and Atropos (unturnable). The word Styx (also meaning “hate” and “detestation”) is a river in Greek mythology that formed the boundary between Earth and the Underworld.
Wax anatomical models such as this were for teaching purposes. They were created by skilled craftsman and had to be realistic. This example was almost certainly modelled on a dead body because the word ‘autopsy’ features on the label. This example shows the thorax, or chest area, covered in pus-filled boils caused by the skin disease ecthyma luridum. This causes inflammation and spots to form on the skin. During the 1830s, physicians believed it was associated with people with ‘broken constitutions’ and was treatable with warm sulphurous baths. It is now easily treated with medicated creams. Joseph Towne was a wax modeller for Guy’s Hospital, London for over 50 years, He completed several hundred models. In 1826, aged just 18 years-old he submitted his first model to the Royal Society of Arts and was awarded a silver medal. He won a gold medal from the same institution in 1827. Many of his models were based on direct observation of the human body via autopsy specimens. They are still useful teaching resources.
Autonomic nerves of the face, neck, thorax and abdomen by Nicolas Henri Jacob from ‘Traité complet de l’anatomie de l’homme’ by Marc Jean Bourgery, 1831.
Dissection to show branches of the trigeminal nerve (cranial nerve V), glossopharyngeal nerve (cranial nerve IX), and hypoglossal nerve (cranial nerve XII). Spinal nerves and brachial plexus, vagus nerve (cranial nerve X), and laryngeal nerves, esophageal plexus, and celiac plexus also shown.
In Peru there have been traffickers who hack people up and remove their fat to sell on the black market. They extract the fat from human thorax and thighs to sell as an ingredient for cosmetics.
The traffickers would allegedly would sever victims’ heads, arms and legs, remove organs and suspend torsos from hooks above candles, which warmed the flesh as the fat dripped into tubs below. (Source)