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Department of Biology

The Vertebrate Collection

The Fresno State Vertebrate Collection contains about 3,500 mammals and 2,500 birds prepared as study skins. In addition, the collection also includes over 600 full or partial bird and mammal skeletons representing 70 families and over 220 species.  The collection’s oldest specimens were prepared in the late 1800’s and since then California State University Fresno professors and their students, along with public agencies and the general public, have contributed specimens now in the collections.  The collection represents a valuable teaching resource as they allow students to get a close-up and hands-on to animals they are unlikely to see in nature and provide the opportunity to observe key characteristics and the expression of traits that reflect subtle genetic differences within a species.  Research activities are also supported by the collection as label information documents a species occurrence in habitats that may no longer exist as a result of urbanization, farming, or development.  Particularly significant in the collection are 450 specimens of the Botta Pocket Gopher (Thomomys bottae) and 291 specimens of the Fresno Kangaroo Rat (Dipodomys nitroides) both of which experienced significant loss of habitat. Please call the Department of Biology Office at 559-278-2001 for access and further information.

Two headed calf

Skull of a two-headed calf