The Collection

Mammal Holotypes Online
The holotypes collection will be available again shortly.

Staff Publications 

The section exchanges reprints of staff publications with colleagues worldwide. Click here for a list of titles and availability.

Collections casesbothx 

Mammals houses a research collection consisting of more than 118,553 specimens. Click here for a Voucher Overview. Our main collection is housed at the Edward O’Neil Research Center, about two miles from the main Carnegie Museum of Natural History building.

Taxonomic coverage includes 24 of the 26 living orders of mammals and 114 of the 136 Recent families. The collection includes 40 holotypes. Geographic coverage is worldwide but the collection’s strength is in North American material. The collection from Pennsylvania and adjacent areas is the best in the world, and the collections from the eastern Arctic are the best of any US museum. The collection also includes excellent holdings from Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, and Utah.

Recent acquisitions from Belize, Bonaire, Curaçao, Costa Rica, Dominica, El Salvador, Grenada, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Guatemala, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Puerto Rico, and Trinidad and Tobago augment historical specimens from Central America. Outside of North America, our strengths are in Africa and South America. Mammals from Bolivia and Colombia were the earliest of our Neotropical acquisitions. Recent material includes specimens from Argentina, Brazil, Ecuador, French Guyana, Peru, Suriname, and Venezuela.

shelvesxThe holdings from Cameroun are the best in the world. Collections made there over a 40-year period by Rev. A. I. Good were obtained before forests in the area were disturbed. As a result, the material is especially valuable in documenting the undisturbed distribution of primates and rodents in that region of Africa. The collection contains recent and historical collections from Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia. Important holdings also exist for the Congo, Egypt, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Malawi, Namibia, South Africa, Uganda, and Zaire.

Field work and exchanges with European collections have strengthened our holdings from Europe with material from Austria, Belgium, Finland, and Hungary. During the last two decades, field work in Australia, Japan, and Thailand have added our first major collections from that region.

The section also holds an excellent osteological collection of both articulated and disarticulated specimens. Represented in this material are a number of unique forms which would be difficult if not impossible to obtain today. Among these are specimens of Cercopithecus, Gorilla, Kobus, Lama, Odobenus, Pan, Papio, Phoca, Ursus maritimus, and Vulpes lagopus. About two-thirds of the osteological material is stored offsite. However, all marine mammals, primates, and large carnivores are housed with the main collection.

In the past two decades, there has been an effort to build the fluid-preserved collection. Today, we hold wet preservations of 286 genera or 44% of all genera in our collection.

coldxMammals houses ancillary collections of slides of karyotypes and sperm and frozen tissues for biochemical studies. The latter consists of tissues from more than 12,000 specimens of insectivores, bats, rodents, carnivores, and primates from North America, Africa, and Asia.

The entire collection has been computerized since 1978 and follows the Documentation Standards developed by the American Society of Mammalogists’ Committee on Information Retrieval. The most recent update of that document can be viewed on this website.