UGA museum lands big animal specimen collection

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ATHENS, Ga. — The University of Georgia’s museum of natural history has gotten a zoo’s worth of new additions.

The Georgia Museum of Natural History has been unpacking truckloads of animal specimens including whale, giraffe and rhinoceros skeletons, according to The Athens Banner-Herald. Many more, including thousands of bird and fish specimens, will be arriving by July.

The collection is coming to UGA from Northeastern University in Boston, where science administrators wanted room for other projects.

Nikki Castleberry, UGA’s assistant curator of vertebrate collections, said the additions will nearly triple the museum’s mammal collection. UGA now has 27,500 mammal specimens and will be adding 40,000 from the Northeastern Uni­versity collection.

A Smithsonian Institution official estimated that the UGA marine mammal collection now might be one of the top dozen in the world, according to museum director Bud Freeman.

Weeks ago, museum workers started moving existing collections to create space for the Northeastern collection, said Nicole Pontzer, the assistant ichthyology curator.

The museum’s 11 collections contain more than 6 million items, including more than 3 million archaeological artifacts, half a million preserved fish and about 2 million insects – among them 20,000 weevils and 200,000 beetles. The museum had more than 100 whale skeletons.

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