Our Domestics at the MBD

Do domestic species have a place in natural history museums? They can certainly be used for showing evolutionary relationships and morphological changes in a species over time. As a teaching collection, the tetrapods collection has several examples of domestic breeds of birds and mammals that we use for educational purposes. Our domestic specimens demonstrate that they were bred for food, companionship, or work. Following Monday’s post about domestic species, we here show some of our collection’s examples of domestics. Take a guess what each species was bred for!


We have over 40 domestic bird specimens in the collection. Some are very colorful, have extravagant tails, were captive bred birds, and all derived from an ancestral species which still exist today. From pet birds to fancy breed poultry, the domestics capture attention during collection tours.



We have 35 domestic mammal specimens in the collection. For most of our domestic mammal species you can find a living example by going to your local pet store. From small domestic rodents to large cattle we can see great examples of different breeding purposes.


Don’t forget to check out our latest domestic specimen, “Afroduck“, at the Open House this year. See if you can guess the purpose of its breed and find similarities with its ancestral species, the Mallard.

About the Author: Stephanie Malinich is the Collection Manager for the Tetrapod Collection.

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