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Mammal Skeleton Collection: The skeletons in the collection are used for both research and display, the grey rhebuck (Pelea capreolus) skull and the selection of large primates are examples of the specimens held.

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Mammal Skeleton Collection: The skeletons in the collection are used for both research and display, the grey rhebuck (Pelea capreolus) skull and the selection of large primates are examples of the specimens held.

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Herpetology collection:  The assistant collection manager, Jofred Opermann, working with wet specimens from the herpetology collection.

Mammals

The origins of mammals can be traced to the Pennsylvananian subperiod of 298 to 323 million years and the group synapsida, which contains mammals and their extinct relatives.

It was at this time that synapsids split from the lineage that would lead to reptiles and birds. The first mammals appeared in the Late Triassic period some 225 million years ago. They rose to dominance following the Cretaceous-Palaeogene extinction event 66 million years ago, a mass extinction that killed three-quarters of plant and animal species on Earth, including all non-avian dinosaurs, i.e. dinosaurs with no birdlike characteristics.

The ability of early mammals to regulate their body temperature during the cooler climates of the Mesozoic Era (251-65 million years ago) may explain why they survived.  Since then, mammals (and birds) have diversified very quickly.
 

The mammal study skin collection includes a wide range of southern African large and small mammal species. Plains zebras Equus burchelli, which formed part of Reinhold Rau’s initial quagga project are also particularly well represented.

Contact

Denise Hamerton
Email: dhamerton@iziko.org.za
Telephone: +27 (0) 21 481 3870