As the curator of the tetrapod collection I am often being asked what the collection is used for and who uses it. The answer is simple, specimens are used for research and teaching as well as art projects and the users come form a wide range of agencies, organizations, schools and universities.
So what are tetrapods anyway? For those of you who speak Greek or Latin, this is no mystery, tetra means four and pedes means feet, so all animals that have in their current or ancestral state four limbs. Yes, birds are included too, wings being their second pair of limbs.
How old are the specimens? Some of them, especially among the birds, are from the 18-hundreds, others are very recent. Just today an American Woodcock was added to the collection. Not quite added yet, this bird must have hit a window and died, so we put it into our freezer where it joined hundreds of other birds that are awaiting their promotion to museum specimen.
You will learn about techniques how we prepare birds and other animals in some later posts.