ASU Natural History Collection receives donation

Lion, crocodile specimens plan to be displayed soon

By Sydney Faison
On September 20, 2018


The ASU Natural History Collection received a two person donation of over 150 new specimens to be displayed. 

Wayne Milligan, a former ASU faculty member, donated the preserved specimens. Every specimen Milligan donated came with a data tag. The data tag lists the species, date of collection and location of collection. 

The second donor is a private donor from Florida. The donor had mounts made of African specimens. 

Adam Ferguson, ASU alum and a collection manager at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, helped navigate the donation. 

Diana Krejsa, collections manager said a ring-tailed cat native to Concho Valley is one of the taxidermy specimens.

“I am always interested in the philosophy behind museum science,” Krejsa said. “Working with students and studying different animals is always fun.”

The lion and crocodile specimens are currently in a warehouse until plans are completed to get the specimen put in glass and displayed. 

The Natural History Collection is spread throughout the Cavness Building. There is a wet collection for mammals, amphibians and reptiles. Students can also observe the tissue and plant collection. 

There are nearly 150,000 specimens in the Natural History Collection, and the collection is steadily growing.

“Reptiles and amphibians hold a special place to me because they are animals that so many people do not like,” Dr. Michael T. Dixon, herpetologist, said. “I appreciate one small part in the big machinery which is nature working together.”

Dr. Dixon said that many people are worried about getting warts from toads or are scared of venomous snakes, when most of them are not dangerous to us. He elaborated by saying that these animals provide a valuable service to us because of the things they eat and the way they interact with all types of wildlife. He also pays attention to everything such as identifying birds, trees and mammals.

“Knowing that stuff that I prepped and worked on is going to be here hundreds of years down the road is rewarding,” Matthew Hamilton, senior, said.

Hamilton is the manager of the domestic beetle colony. Hamilton started out as a volunteer on prep days. 

Hamilton received many beneficial opportunities by volunteering.  

Hamilton attended meetings for the American Society of Mammologists, the Texas Society of Mammologists and the North American Society for Bat Research (NASBR).  

Krejsa went to graduate school at the University of New Mexico. She also completed an internship with the Smithsonian. 

Email if you are interested in volunteering for the Natural History Collection. 

For those who want to study the specimen can make a loan request by email 


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