Pickled

A selection of the animal specimens kept in the Oxford University Museum of Natural History archives

Macaca nemestrina
Macaca nemestrina

Southern pig-tailed macaque OUMNH 20305

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Peeled primate
Peeled primate
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Bos taurus
Bos taurus

Cow foetus OUMNH 11611

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Ursus americanus
Ursus americanus

American black bear (brain) OUMNH 833

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Rattus norvegicus
Rattus norvegicus

Brown rat (dissection) OUMNH 09794

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Bos taurus
Bos taurus

Cow (brain) OUMNH 2065

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Phasianus gallus
Phasianus gallus

Chicken (egg production) OUMNH 1505

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Rat dorsal dissection
Rat dorsal dissection

Horniman Museum

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Sarcophilis harrissii
Sarcophilis harrissii

Tasmanian devil (stomach and messentry) OUMNH 8087

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Hypsignathus monstrosus
Hypsignathus monstrosus

Hammer headed fruit bat OUMNH 3371

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Daubentonia madagascariensis
Daubentonia madagascariensis

Aye aye OUMNH 549

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Testudo creaca
Testudo creaca
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36 sheep brains
36 sheep brains
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Loris gracilis
Loris gracilis

Slender loris OUMNH 4275

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Rabbit dorsal dissection
Rabbit dorsal dissection

Horniman Museum

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Monkey dorsal dissection
Monkey dorsal dissection

Horniman Museum

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Cat dorsal dissection
Cat dorsal dissection

Horniman Museum

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Double preparation of hedgehog
Double preparation of hedgehog

Horniman Museum

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Double preparation of flying fox
Double preparation of flying fox

Horniman Museum

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Double preparation of rabbit
Double preparation of rabbit

Horniman Museum

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Octodon cumingi et. al.
Octodon cumingi et. al.

Common degu (and others) OUMNH 821

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Sus scrofa double pig
Sus scrofa double pig

OUMNH 821

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Australian Parrots
Australian Parrots
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Loris tardigradus
Loris tardigradus

Slender loris OUMNH 3288

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Erinaceus europeues
Erinaceus europeues

Hedgehogs OUMNH 3013

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Bufo asper
Bufo asper

Giant asian toad OUMNH 8012

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Sus scrofa
Sus scrofa

Pig (brain) OUMNH 2062

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Panthera pardus
Panthera pardus

Leopard (brain) OUMNH 2334

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Phocoena communis
Phocoena communis

Porpoise (brain) OUMNH 02446

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A selection of the animal specimens kept in the Oxford University Museum of Natural History archives and on display at the Horniman Museum.
​The archives are a compilation of many notable Victorian collectors such as Thomas Bell, William Burchell and Charles Darwin. Throughout the records, other names are scattered - the Christchurch collection, the Turner collection, the Ashmolean Museum collection. Many of the 5,000 mammal specimens, 17,000 bird skins and 5 million arthropods do not even have the collector recorded, though they contributed to some of the finest research archives in the world.
​As in any broad collection, many objects may feel too trivial to store. Sometimes it is a puzzle why the samples were collected at all - one earthenware jar is simply labelled "36 sheeps brains". These samples often show a new way of looking at something commonplace - the rat dissections from both OUMNH and the Horniman reveal the hidden world inside. However, amongst the everyday and exotic of yesteryear are 2,000 specimens from animals that became endangered and extinct and now represent a treasure trove of information for current and future scientists.
​The archives are not open to the public and so images have been taken with special access and permission, courtesy of the Oxford University Museum of Natural History.

Images taken courtesy of the Oxford University Museum of Natural History and the Horniman Museum, London.