MFNC at the Museum of Nature, Collections

On April 19, we were very lucky to have a private MFNC tour of the collections, guided by 2 of the 16 scientists who work there, Troy McMullin and Lynn Gillespie, both of whom have been speakers at our club. We received an extremely warm welcome from all of the happy staff members we met along the way.  What a place to work! This fairly new facility is bright, spacious and filled with so many amazing things that we wished we could stay there for a few days. It houses: about 150 000 birds representing over 2700 species, eggs, nests, 80 000 mammals, plants, fish, 12 million invertebrates, lichens and much more……  Work must be done constantly to preserve the specimens since the typical preparations last only about 100 years. The scientists are supported by a large group of technicians and others who keep the place humming.

The specimens are used for scientific study by the resident scientists and also by many people outside the facility and even outside the country. Specimens collected over time can show important changes in species, for example, they were used to show the changes that had occurred in egg shells as a result of DDT use.

Below, the pictures show some highlights of our tour.  For so much more, visit the collections during the annual fall open house, the second Saturday in October.

Many thanks to all of the staff for sharing their knowledge and passion for their work, especially to Troy and Lynn who guided us around.

Recent plants collected in the arctic alongside those from one of the Franklin expeditions (right).

learning about dinosaurs, and their scat!

fossils collected in the early 1900s, still in plaster awaiting investigation

the mammal collections

fossil of a giant beaver, 10 300 yr. old

skull of a 10 000 yr old Beluga whale, collected from Pakenham

Thick-billed Murre eggs, showing the great variety of colour and with pointy ends so they roll in circles and not off the rock ledge!

a Yellow Warbler guarding its 3-layered nest which has been parasitized by Brown Cowbirds

uncovering the bones

the DNA lab

the amazing library