Dr. Wilmot Thornton started the ASU Collection of Mammals in the mid-1960s. Dr. Mark Engstrom, now curator at the Royal Ontario Museum, served as curator from 1982-88. During that time, the collection expanded dramatically and was moved to its current location in Room 109 of the Cavness Science Building.
In 1988, Dr. Robert Dowler assumed the duties of curator and remains in that position today. Under his direction, the collection has reached nearly 20,000 specimens.
The Collection of Mammals is accredited by the American Society of Mammalogists, Systematic Collections Committee. Almost half of the collection is of species from Texas. However, significant holdings are also represented from Mexico (3,600 specimens), Guyana (200) and the Galapagos Islands, seaward of Ecuador (300).
Recent field studies in Sulawesi, Indonesia and several U.S. states, including Arizona, New Mexico, Montana and Oregon, have added specimens to the collection.