Consumptive Analysis Policy
In addition to the general policy for alteration or removal of specimens or objects from the collections of Carnegie Museum of Natural History, there are specific policies and guidelines that cover the alteration or removal of specimens or parts thereof from the collection in the Section of Mammals. The policies and guidelines, referring to the removal of samples of skin, hair, portions of bone, pieces of dried muscle or other tissues, teeth, organs, or pieces of fluid-preserved specimens, covers both external and internal requests. They are detailed below.
A formal request must be submitted in all cases for consideration of alterations or removal of specimens. Normally only accessioned specimens are considered at this level of request. A written proposal should be sent to the Section of Mammals for review and approval in advance of any visit. The proposal should state the nature of the study and the research question(s) being addressed, the techniques that will be used in the study, the taxa that will be required, the number of individuals needed, and the exact nature and size of the sample requested.
Proposals should indicate how many samples of material and from which taxa the applicant has available from his/her own field or laboratory efforts. Proposals should indicate whether any material may be available from other sources, especially frozen tissue collections or captive populations.
Proposals for graduate student research must be co-signed by the graduate student’s major advisor.
Proposals will be evaluated by curatorial and collection management staff with, in some cases, advice solicited from colleagues at other institutions. Because the intent is to facilitate quality research while conserving the specimens in the collection, the applicant should strive to 1) clearly show the purpose and merit of the research; 2) strongly justify the need for sampling specimens by using published and proven methodology backed up by appropriately cited literature in the proposal; 3) keep the amount of any sample required and the number of taxa to be sampled as small as possible; and 4) demonstrate the competence of the researchers and availability of institutional resources to complete the research project in a timely period.
The rarity of the taxa to be sampled in the wild (endangered species and poorly known taxa) as well as in museum collections will influence the approval of a request.
The effect of the sampling procedure and the amount of the sample taken on the physical integrity of any specimen and its future utility for other kinds of systematic research will influence the approval of a request.
Normally researchers will be required to remove samples from specimens while visiting the collection in the Section of Mammals. Sampling of borrowed specimens will not generally be allowed. The final selection of actual specimens to be sampled will be done when the researcher and collection staff jointly examine the specimens.
Actual sampling will be monitored by a staff member so that annotations of specimen records can be done at the same time. Normally only one sample can be removed from any specimen.
Holotypes will not be available for sampling.
A listing of museum numbers should be made for those specimens from which samples have been taken. The listing should also include a notation of the type of sample removed and the location on the specimen where the sample was taken. This information will be recorded for future reference.
Samples are only approved for the study as outlined in the application and should not be used for any additional studies without prior approval. Unused portions of the samples or altered samples resulting from the study are to be returned to the Section of Mammals unless prior arrangements have been made.
Genomic DNA samples are to be returned to the Section of Mammals for inclusion in the DNA library or, in certain cases, to be deposited via official Section of Mammals’ transaction in another approved DNA library.
Any reference to the source of samples in publications should clearly refer to the voucher specimen in the Section of Mammals by CM number.
Any reprints of publications or reports resulting from the samples taken from specimens in the Section of Mammals should be sent for deposit in the Doutt Memorial Library in the Section.