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ASU Natural History Specimens Included in TTU Museum Exhibit

May 17, 2018

Two preserved animal specimens from the Angelo State Natural History Collections’ (ASNHC) Mammals Collection have been included in an ongoing exhibit of species found in the North American and African grasslands at the Museum of Texas Tech University in Lubbock.

The ASU giraffe loaned to the TTU Museum sits at the entrance to the ongoing grasslands exhibit.The ASU giraffe loaned to the TTU Museum sits at the entrance to the ongoing grasslands exhibit.The exhibit is titled “From the African Savannah to the North American Grasslands: A Comparison of Mammalian Biodiversity and Natural History.” Primarily made up of specimens from the Taxidermy Collection of the TTU Museum’s Natural Science Research Laboratory, the exhibit also includes the two ASNHC contributions: the mounted heads of an African reticulated giraffe and African spotted hyena. 

The ASU giraffe head is stationed at the entrance to the exhibit and is the first specimen visitors see. 

“In this exhibit, we look at the biological importance of grasslands in the two continents, how they are similar and how they differ,” said Gary Morgan, TTU Museum director. “Many of these specimens have not been on public display before. Their origins are varied, but many have been donated by friends of the museum, including those who have hunted big game in Africa.” 

ASU biology students and faculty loaded the ASNHC specimens for transport in January.ASU biology students and faculty loaded the ASNHC specimens for transport in January.The exhibit currently houses just over 30 specimens, including well-known species like an African elephant and American bison, as well as lesser-known species like the dik-dik, an 18-inch-tall African antelope. The number of specimens could grow as high as 60 when additional entries arrive from other collections, similar to a shipment from Florida that arrived after the exhibit opened and included a hippopotamus, a warthog and several other pieces. 

The exhibit is open in the TTU Museum from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday – Saturday and 1-5 p.m. Sundays. It will be open to the public through January 2019. 

Angelo State Natural History Collections LogoThe ASNHC are maintained by the ASU Department of Biology and contain more than 150,000 specimens of mammals, reptiles, amphibians, birds and plants from the Concho Valley, other regions of Texas, many other states, Mexico, Africa, Asia, Australia and even the Galápagos Islands. The collections aid student and faculty research projects, are used as teaching tools, and have been viewed by thousands of K-12 students through special guided tours. 

In 2012, ASU was awarded a $480,865 grant from the National Science Foundation to modernize and digitize the ASNHC and make all the specimens available to researchers and educators around the globe on worldwide online databases. The project was completed in July 2016.