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Dr Andrew Kitchener

Principal Curator of Vertebrate Biology

Dr Andrew Kitchener
Principal Curator of Vertebrate Biology
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.

Andrew Kitchener is Principal Curator of Vertebrates and specialises in research on mammals, especially carnivorans.

Dr Kitchener studied zoology at Reading University and his PhD, also at Reading, was on the functional design of bovid horns.

Before joining National Museums Scotland in 1988 as Principal Curator of Mammals and Birds, he was a researcher and field assistant at the BBC Natural History Unit, working on the series Supersense. In 2010 his remit broadened to include all vertebrates. 

He is an Honorary Research Fellow in the Institute of Geography, University of Edinburgh and an Honorary Lecturer in the College of Medical, Veterinary and Life Sciences, University of Glasgow. He is also an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland and a member of its Animal Welfare and Ethics Group, Chair of Trustees of the People’s Trust for Endangered Species, and a member of the IUCN Cat Specialist Group and the IUCN Equid Specialist Group. In 2020 Dr Kitchener was appointed to the Scottish Animal Welfare Commission to advise Scottish government on animal welfare issues.

Dr Kitchener’s research interests are very broad and feature the following key areas:

  • Hybridisation in mammals and birds, including the Scottish wildcat, which is threatened by hybridisation with domestic cats. Dr Kitchener is chair of the Scottish Wildcat Conservation Action Plan Steering Group.
  • Geographical variation in mammals, particularly cats, including recent research that identified the first new big cat species, the Sunda clouded leopard, to be recognised in more than 180 years. Current research is focussed on sand cats and marbled cats.
  • Effects of captivity on captive vertebrates, including the effects of ageing and the development of diseases of bones and teeth.
  • Scottish zooarchaeology, including the occurrence and extinction of large mammals, such as brown bears and beavers.
  • Functional morphology, including the jaw mechanics of red squirrels and the function of the baculum.

Ten Selected Publications

  1. Melin, A.D., Orkin, J.D., Janiak, M.C., Valenzuela, A., Kuderna, L., Marrone, F., Ramangason, H., Horvath, J.E., Roos, C., Kitchener, A.C., Khor, C.C., Lim, W.K., Lee, J.G.H., Tan, P., Umapathy, G., Raveendran, M., Harris, R.A., Gut, I., Gut, M., Lizano, E., Nadler, T., Zinner, D., Le, M.D., Manu, S., Rabarivola, C.J., Zaramody, A., Andriaholinirina, N., Johnson, S.E., Jarvis, E.D., Fedrigo, O., Wu, D., Zhang, G., Farh, K.K.-H., Rogers, J., Marques‐Bonet, T., Navarro, A., Juan, D., Arora, P.S., Higham, J.P. 2021. Variation in predicted COVID‐19 risk among lemurs and lorises. American Journal of Primatology.
  2. Paijmans, J.L.A., Barlow, A., Becker, M.S., Cahill, J.A., Fickel, J., Förster, D.W.G., Gries, K., Hartmann, S., Worsøe Havmøller, R., Henneberger, K., Kern, C., Kitchener, A.C., Lorenzen, E.D., Mayer, F., O’Brien, S.J., von Seth, J., Sinding, M-H.S., Spong, G., Uphyrkina, O., Wachter, B., Westbury, M.V., Dalén, L., Bhak, J., Manica, A. and Hofreiter, M. 2021. African and Asian leopards are highly differentiated at the genomic level. Current Biology 31
  3. Cooper, D.M., Dugmore, A.K., Kitchener, A.C., Metzger, M.J. and Trabucco, A. 2021. A kingdom in decline: Holocene range contraction of the lion (Panthera leo) modelled with global environmental stratification. PeerJ:
  4. Clauss, M., Trümpler, J., Ackermans, N.L., Kitchener, A.C., Hantke, G., Stagegaard, J., Takano, T., Shintaku, Y. and Matsuda, I. 2021. Intraspecific macroscopic digestive anatomy of ring‑tailed lemurs (Lemur catta), including a comparison of frozen and formalin‑stored specimens. Primates 62: 431-441
  5. Kitchener, A.C., Bellemain, E., Ding, X., Kopatz, A., Kutschera, V.E., Salomashkina, V., Ruiz-Garcia, M., Graves, T., Hou, Y., Werdelin, L. and Janke, A. 2020. Systematics, evolution and genetics of bears. In: Melletti, M. and Penteriani, V. (eds.) Bears of the world. Ecology, Conservation and Management. pp. 3-20. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  6. Livingstone, B., Kitchener, A.C., Hull, G., Schwarz, T., Vijayanathan, S., et al. 2020. Diffuse Idiopathic Skeletal Hyperostosis in captive gorillas (Gorilla Spp.): Appearance and diagnosis. Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine 51 (3): 578-590.
  7. Kitchener, A.C. 2020. Small carnivorans, museums and zoos. International Zoo Yearbook 54: 1–10
  8. Cox, P.G., Morris, P.J.R., Hennekam, J.J. & Kitchener, A.C. 2020. Morphological and functional variation between isolated populations of British red squirrels (Sciurus vulgaris). Journal of Zoology 312 (4): 271-283
  9. Bowling, D.L., Dunn, J.C., Smaers, J.B., Garcia, M., Sato, A., Hantke, G., Handschuh, S., Dengg, S., Kerney, M., Kitchener, A.C., Gumpenberger, M., Fitch, W.T. 2020. Rapid evolution of the primate larynx? PLoS Biology 18 (8):
  10. Kitchener, A.C., Hantke, G., Herman, J.S., ten Doeschate, M. and Brownlow, A.C. 2020. First record of True’s beaked whale, Mesoplodon mirus, in Britain. Mammal Communications 6: 29-33.

For further publications see: National Museums Scotland Research Repository.

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Discover what’s new amongst the vertebrate collections with our Principal Curator.

Blog posts by Andrew Kitchener
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Scottish Wildcats

Rarer than the tiger, the Scottish wildcat is Britain's last native cat species. Find out more about this elusive feline and the efforts being made to ensure it has a future.

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