Saturday, February 19, 2011

Natural History Museum - Mammals

On Friday I visited the Natural History Museum with the ScArt Collective I am a part of. The biologists who gave us the behind the scenes tour were so enthused and passionate about what they study, it was so much fun to listen to them talk. I did not take many pictures, but others in our group did. We where shown around in four departments: mammals, invertebrate paleontology, invertebrate marine biology and ornithology.

The below photographs are of mammals:

Box of Florida Panther bones. They had about 30 Florida Panther pelts hung up like coats. When the mammal department receives a new animal, the separate the skin from the bones, put the meaty bones in a container with meat-eating beetles, and treat the skin. If the animal is small, they will stuff the animal with cotton - this is not taxidermy. Taxidermy animals are posed in natural ways. When you stuff animals to study, each species has a specific position. This way all the collections all over the world are uniform. So if you want to compare monkeys in South America with the monkeys in Asia, it is easier to compare because the two monkeys are posed exactly the same way. But the larger animals they keep as pelts because it is easier to store that way.

Pile of monkeys.

Drawer of groundhogs. All of those drawers were filled with animals. There were aisles and aisles of these drawers, each holding a different type of animal.

All of the boxes on the left wall were filled with manatee skulls. This was about half of the length of the warehouse.

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