royal alberta museum
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visitors since 1967

Mammalogy: Collection

Museum-curated study skins and skeletal material.

The mammalogy collection consists of more than 13,000 carefully preserved specimens and information describing mammalian diversity. Specimens in the collection were acquired through fieldwork, donations from individuals and organizations, and through the procurement of material from other collections. Most of the specimens are standard mammalogical study skins, complete or partial skeletons, and taxidermied mounts, tissue samples frozen at -80°C, and whole specimens preserved in formalin. The collections also include other mammal-related samples, artifacts, or information including: endo- and ectoparasites, diet samples, regurgitated owl pellets (i.e., prey remains), bat banding records, artwork, images, and audio-visual recordings. Although the collection can be categorized into three main themes based on their function, including a working collection, a reference collection, and an interpretive collection, the primary purpose of the specimens and preserved samples is for scientific research.

The working collection of specimens and/or tissue samples has been collected to meet the objectives of research projects currently being conducted by members of the mammalogy lab, research collaborators, and students. In addition, specimens in the working collection may occasionally provide learning and skill development opportunities for students and volunteers associated with the lab. Please visit the research section to view brief descriptions of ongoing projects being conducted in our program.

In addition to research, specimens in the reference collection are used to support the education and outreach activities of the mammalogy program. Study skins and skeletal material are also used by visiting scientists and students engaged in scientific research. In addition to skins and skeletal material, whole taxidermied mounts may occasionally be used by educators from post-secondary institutions to support specific aspects of their curriculum. Specimens in the reference collection are also used to support the activities of the museum's exhibits department and on occasion specimens may be loaned to qualified institutions for use in displays.

The interpretive collection is used almost exclusively to support the activities of the museum's education and public programs departments.

Reference materials in the mammalogy collection are available for use by qualified researchers from other institutions. For more information or to request access to the collections, please contact the Curator of Mammalogy.

A printable summary of specimens in the mammalogy collection can be downloaded here.