In historic terms, the recent vertebrate collection is one of our institute's oldest collections. When it was first started, in the middle of the 19th century, it mainly consisted of indigenous and tropical birds because the institute's first director was an ornithologist.

Skulls in a drawer of the vertebrates collection

Since those early days the collection has grown to 600,000 specimens of birds, fish, amphibians, reptiles and mammals. They are stored in 12,000 drawers and more than 35,000 jars. We hold the type material (the specimen that was used to describe the species for the first time) for more than 700 species. Between 1930 and 1960 our scientists collected and studied a great many animals from the Congolese national parks. 

The vertebrates collection is extremely diverse: it consists of hides, stuffed animals, specimens preserved in alcohol, skulls, skeletons, shells, tissues, embryos, eggs, nests, imprints and moulds. 

Non-recent vertebrates can be found in the Palaeontology and Anthropology collections.

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