Image: Phalacrocorax melanoleucos melanoleucos, Little Pied Cormorant, mounts. Registration nos. 6448 (left), 28397 (front) & 34618 (rear). Photographer: Jon Augier.
Curation notes by: Lucinda Horrocks and Museums Victoria.Contributors
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Copyright in image and text with Museums Victoria.
The study of animals falls into the branch of science called zoology, a sub discipline of biology, which is the study of all living things.
So if you want to research how populations of native animals have been changed by human impacts such as climate change, one of the first ports of call is a museum zoology collection.
Some significant zoology collections extend back as far as scientific collecting began and they continue to be replenished today. Often held by museums or universities, they are a trove of essential reference material for researchers.
In Victoria the Museums Victoria zoology collection began in the 1850s. It has specimens from all around the world but specialises in animals found in South-Eastern Australia, particularly in Victoria. The collection paints a scientific picture of the distribution of animals in Victoria past and present, where they live, how they live, which ones are rare, which ones are common and which are extinct.
Pictured here are mounted specimens of the Little Pied Cormorant (Microcarbo melanoleucos), a common waterbird. The specimen on the left was donated to Museums Victoria at its formation in 1854. Taxidermic specimens mounted for display and study were very popular in the 19th century. These specimens still play an important role in communication and science but have been supplemented by other types of collection objects as our scientific understanding of biology has changed, new tools such as genetic analysis have been developed, and the role of the museum itself has evolved.
Curation notes by: Lucinda Horrocks and Museums Victoria.