The Biology Range at the New York State Museum

Uploaded by nysmuseum on 18.06.2009

So now were standing in what we call the biology range. This big room contains almost all of
our preserved biological specimens. It includes all the birds, and mammals and all the pins
insects and all the pressed plants in our herbarium and also all the dried fungi. So
for birds and mammals, they store similarly so we make similarly kinds of preparations
for those which includes study skins, taxidermy mounts which are used mostly for exhibit and
education and complete disarticulated skeletons. For birds we also have egg sets but we're
going to take a look at some skeletons. I'm going to pull out this drawer here that
has a bunch of different species of sparrow and we'll take a look at an example here.
This is a Savannah Sparrow that was killed at JFK airport in 1996. So it's got the date
and the locality, it tells us it's a complete skeleton specimen and then here's what the
specimen actually looks like. There's the data on the tag, and then there's
all the bones that was in that sparrow's body so they have all the catalog number written
on each element. That's a scull.
That's a sternum. That's all the bones of the leg, femur, tibia-tarsus
and tarso meta-tarsus. I wanted to show you a few of these different
study skins. These are owls. This is an eastern screech owl specimen. So these have had all
the insides taken out and stuffed with cotton. Here's a nice red-faced screech owl. This
bird was collected December 7, 1935 by Charles Sanderson in Loudonville NY. So these have
data on all the tags that tell you what the sex of the bird is, how much fat it had, what
it had in the stomach, things like that, that are useful to researchers.
Sometimes we make what we call a 'spread wing' from the specimen so rather than have both
of the wings tucked behind the body like on this one, you would cut one of the wings off
and pin it out like this so you can see all the different flight feathers. And these are
really useful to researchers who are interested in pattern of 'molt' or feather replacement.
You can see quite clearly that this bird which was collected in January has only 1 new feather
coming in this short one right here. Most of our collection are birds that were
collected in New York and so for common things like these flickers we have quite a lot of
the them, so there's a lot of material here available for researchers. Some of these go
back as far as the 1870. Here's one right here, right in front that's from 1892 collected
by C.C. Young he's a famous biologist from New York City. So his bird looks just as good
as one we would have prepared last week. And then we've got some other stuff that's
from the tropics, these are katangas and mannequins, things we don't have many of. But we do have
some birds that are not from New York. All these white cabinets hold our taxidermy
mounts. So they don't have nearly as much data on them, so they're not a useful to researchers
but they're really useful for educators and these often go out on loan to school groups.
So this is a bunch peregrine falcons and this is some ospreys and a swallow-tailed kite.
Many of these mounts were formerly on exhibit here at the museum or at other museums and
we've adopted them and put them in storage here so this was probably a family group of
ospreys that was on exhibit at one time. These have glass eyes and painted feet to
make them look more life-like than the study skins that we just looked at.
These are pelicans and boobies and gannets, this is a northern gannet and this is a brown
pelican and this guy in the middle is an american white pelican.
These are pretty awesome birds.
This is a cougar mountain lion skull from St. Lawrence County 1854. So you can see it's
a little in bad shape, cause it got shot through the heard, but overall these teeth and bones
in excellent, in just as good condition. And you can take measurements you can get DNA
out of these bones because they're preserved for so long. So this is proof, for one thing,
that cougars were in New York. And so these types of old specimens are really precious
data. These are elephant sculls, we can get a scull
in a box here. A few smaller sized tusks.. Pretty cool.
We've got moose, giraffes, so these giraffes have some crazy vertebrate. These giant giant
vertebrate, some of the longest vertebrate of any animal, the same number of vertebrate
there just a little bit larger. Down there is a moose, little moose scull
and antlers, small antlers for a moose. See a lot of deer sculls. Deer sculls are
harder to keep because they've got these big antlers that get in way. Small deer, big deer.
Every specimen has data written on where it's from.
Here's a caribou antler. Here's a big water buffalo
From Africa. Here's a cabinet with some whales and whale
relatives. We've got a little bit of baleen, the rest of it is going on exhibit so we're
working on that. Some other really interesting looking whale relative sculls. This is a pigmy
sperm whale. Just a really bizarre looking scull. We keep
some pieces of the whale in here that are small enough but most of our big whale isn't
going to fit in these little cabinets, we've got it right over here.
This is our humpback whale from Cape Cod. Washed up on Cape Cod. This was a lot of work
to clean up as you can imagine, such a big scull. It also takes up a lot of room, you
can put a lot of mouse sculls in this same amount of area. So here's the scull, and this
is the rest of the skeleton down here, sitting underneath the mastodon. You've got the Randolph
mammoth up here and the rest of these cabinets have whale vertebrate, intervertebral discs.
You can see the flippers, the sockets, the ribs on all these cabinets.