Stomach-Churning Rating: 1/10 for ambiguous sacks.
I mainly post here about my team’s research and interests, but today I felt like sharing something special and concrete: the contents of our freezers. They are not just John’s and there’s more than one freezer; thus there is room to share, within reason. So if you’re a researcher, especially in the UK/EU, needing unusual research specimens/tissue, you might want to contact me to use them. This blog’s posts summarize most of what I have available, and for security/other reasons I don’t want to get into deep detail here, but we sport a respectable collection of limbs/bodies of animals like:
Birds: ostriches, emus, broiler chickens, guineafowl, assortment of others.
Crocodiles: Nile, Osteolaemus, Morelet’s and some others (1 Melanosuchus, 1 normal Caiman).
Squamates: a monitor lizard or two and some other random lizards.
Amphibians: a few fire salamanders and such.
Mammals: of course, plenty of elephant bits (no ivory!), rhinos too (no horns!), giraffes, a dwarf forest buffalo, alpacas, deer, pieces of camels and zebras (feet etc.), wild cat species (no penises!) and a few other things. And then the usual assortment of veterinary species like cows and horses. A heavy focus on limb material– very few if any heads, torsos, etc.
This is in addition to a nice little comparative skeletal collection, focused on cleaned members of the above groups and a smattering of others. Nothing on the scale of RVC’s marvellous Anatomy Museum, but we’re young.
And two African land snail shells (inhabited) I was reminded of during a recent inventory… Here are some of my helpful helpers in that inventory extravaganza!
Especially if you’re searching for CT scan data (sooner or later these data will appear online; I want it to happen!), tissue samples for genetics or cell biology (if frozen is OK!), comparative anatomical specimens to inspect, or other uses of frozen anatomy (photography? other art? We’ve helped artists before!), the freezers might be able to help you! The less destructive, the better, but even some destructive analysis might be OK. We regularly accommodate visitors, either independent ones or collaborators, and I aim to provide good hospitality when I can accommodate them!
Get in touch with me if the above description is you. It’s not an open invitation to everyone, but for valid research purposes I can and should try to help. But I’m limited by time and other human factors, so I can’t do everything and help everyone. Our ability to host others to come work on our specimens here in-house is very limited, I’m sorry to say. The primary purpose of all the hard work we’ve done accumulating these specimens remains to support our research, but there’s room to help others too, and we want to maximize the impact of our research collection, including potentially on teaching and public engagement with science where feasible. So I’ve put it out there, and that ends this post.
UPDATE May 2016:
I am planning more freezer cleaning; under more pressure due to dwindling space; so if specimens here interest you and you’re EU-based, I am possibly up for loaning out material. Conditions: (1) you do all transport pickup and return; (2) skeletal material is kept intact unless I approve in advance; (3) 2 year-ish loan at most, informal. We are curating material, so it must return– and it must stay in the EU (ideally UK) if on loan. Everything gets CT-scanned before it goes out. Not everything is up for grabs, but there is room for negotiation as to what’s available or not. For scientific usage only! Best to email me if interested.