One of the very earliest examples of stop-motion animation did not use puppets, cutouts, or clay models. Instead, it used dead bugs.
In 1910, Moscow-born entomologist Ladislas Starevich was working as Director of the Museum of Natural History in Kovno, Lithuania, where he attempted to make a live-action documentary of stag beetles. Starevich quickly discovered that his actors were far more likely to follow his stage directions if they were deceased. By replacing the dead beetles' legs with wire, Starevich could manipulate the bugs, Weekend-at-Bernie's-style, to do whatever he wanted them to do.
"The Cameraman's Revenge," a dark tale of insect infidelity and jealousy, is the best known of Starevich's dead-bug films. Starevich fled to France during the October Revolution, where he would continue to make films that would inspire generations of animators, including Art Clokey, Terry Gilliam, Henry Selick, and Nick Park.