We continue to develop our collections so that they remain relevant for research today and into the future.
However, historical collections allow researchers to look back into the past with new techniques to extract DNA or measure levels of stable isotopes to see how species have changed over time.
The collections are used by our staff and visiting researchers, for studies on anatomy, functional morphology, geographical variation, phylogeography, hybridisation, conservation biology and animal welfare.
You can find out more about our main collections below.
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Specific responsibility: Head of Birds, Mammals and Taxidermy. Curation and development of bird and mammal collections, especially carnivores (felids, mustelids), marine mammals and ungulates.
Research interests/expertise: Hybridisation between native and introduced mammal species, geographical variation and the effects of captivity on mammal and bird skeletal morphology, including ageing and pathology, faunal change and zooarchaeology of Scotland.
Specific responsibility: Curation of mammal collections, especially cetaceans (whales, dolphins, porpoises), small mammals (mice, voles, shrews).
Research interests/expertise: Molecular evolution, intraspecific variation, biogeography and archaeology of Eurasian mammals, especially rodents and cetaceans.
Specific responsibility: Curation and development of the bird collections.
Research interests/expertise: Diversification (speciation, radiation) and homogenisation (hybridisation), convergent island evolution, genome evolution, phylogenetics/phylogenomics and phylogeography, and taxonomy in birds.
Specific responsibility: Curation of the vertebrate collections.
Research interests/expertise: Vertebrate biology and collections care.
Specific responsibility: Curation of the vertebrate collections, in particular assisting in the curation of collections used in the Do Not Feed The Animals project funded by the Wellcome Trust.
Research interests/expertise: Palaeozoology, vertebrate morphology of fossil South American ungulates and birds, and collections care.
Specific responsibility: Postdoctoral Researcher on the Wellcome Trust Project: From ‘Feed the Birds’ to ‘Do Not Feed the Animals’.
Research interests/expertise: Vertebrate morphometric analysis, biogeography and Geographical Information Science (GIS)
Specific responsibility: Preparation of animal specimens for study and basic curation of vertebrates.
Research interests: Taxonomy, systematics and biogeography of Central American lower vertebrates and insects.
Specific responsibility: Preparation of non-passerine birds and small mammals.
Research interests/expertise: Bird and small mammal taxidermy as well as the preparation of skeletal material.
Our specimens represent Scotland’s geological history and global mineralogical diversity.
Our collections date from the mid-1800s and include samples of many different groups of animals.
Our collection covers all the major groups of fossil invertebrates, vertebrates, plants and trace fossils.
Our collections comprise more than 200,000 vertebrate specimens from around the world.