Research Collection

The MCZ Mammal Collection is one of the largest historic, geographic, and taxonomically diverse university systematic collections of Mammals in the world. It comprises over 85,000 voucher specimens, including 342 holotypes.

Other important series include primates from Madagascar, Africa, and South America. Our most used primate series was collected by Washburn and Schultz during the Asiatic Primate Expedition of 1937, and includes body weights and measurements of several species.

Additionally, our collection has a sizeable and diverse representation of postcranial material, including over 10,000 specimens acquired from the former Osteology Department at Harvard in the 1930’s.

During the past two decades, we have been proactive in continuing to add specimens to the collection, including many local, marine, zoo and field collected mammals. We record and document as much information as possible, including all collection and locality data, body measurements, gender and reproductive condition, preserved tissues, complete skeletons, skins, embryos, parasites, notes on body condition, stomach contents and habitat.

More recent additions to the collection include over 250 specimens from the Chiricahua Mountains of Arizona (1992, 1993), 110 rodents and bats from Nicaragua (1996), 100 rodents and insectivores from Uganda (1998) and over 105 bats comprising 18 species from Costa Rica (2002). In the past few years we have been actively involved in exchanges, and additionally have received a number of donations.

Specimen Database

The Mammalogy Collection is searchable online through MCZbase.  This general data includes: MCZ number, locality data, nature of specimen and collector information. In addition, complete data, including sex and date collected, is available for specimens in the Orders Monotremata, Marsupialia, Primates, Edentata, Pholidota and Lagomorpha. If you need more detailed data on a particular group of specimens in our collection, please contact the Mammalogy department.  The collection can also be searched through VertNet, iDigBio and GBIF.