University of Michigan Museum of Zoology

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About Our Collections

Former curator, Dr. Lee Dice, in Tamaulipas (circa 1930)

The University of Michigan Museum of Zoology (UMMZ) Mammal Division (hereafter, Mammal Division) was established in 1837, when the Michigan State Legislature authorized the University to establish a “cabinet of natural history”.

Today, the Mammal Division collections are housed on the third floor of the Ruthven Museums Building and contain over 150,000 specimens. The Mammal Division maintains several collections of specimens: a traditional skin and skeleton collection, a fluid collection with over 15,000 specimens, a post-cranial skeleton collection with over 10,000 specimens, a frozen tissue collection with over 3,000 specimens, a bacula collection, and a collection of cleared and stained glands penes.

The main components of the collection are the Rodentia, with over 90,000 specimens, the Chiroptera, with over 14,000 specimens, the “Insectivores”, with over 6,000 specimens, the Lagomorpha, with over 2,800 specimens, and North American Carnivora, with over 4,000 specimens. Approximately 110,000 of the specimens in the collection are collected from the Americas, and approximately 6,000 specimens are collected from Southeast Asia.

The Mammal Division also contains a collection of type specimens. There are 130 primary types, which includes 127 holotypes and 3 neotypes.

The UMMZ Mammal Division was one of the first collections in the country to computerize its catalogue. Currently, the Mammal Division collection database is available online through VertNet.  In addition, the Mammal Division collection database is published through iDigBio and GBI.

Mammal Division collection policies

Great Lakes Flora and Fauna project