The Zoology Museum


The Aberdeen University Zoology Museum is one of the oldest in the land.

In the Dictionary of National Biography (Vol 14, pages 915-916) under the entry for William Ogilvie (1736-1819) there is a note '... and to Ogilvie Aberdeen University owes its Natural History Museum, founded about 1775.'

In A General Description of the East Coast of Scotland from Edinburgh to Cullen (Douglas 1782), we read that, ' commencing about 1772 Professor Ogilvie began of his own accord to put together a collection of specimens for a museum of natural history in the King's College, and has now fitted up, and furnished three apartments for their accommodation. [He procured] ... an assortment of specimens of fossils, and in the various branches of zoology as might serve to excite the liberal curiosity of youth, and make them, in some measure, acquainted the immense variety of the works of nature ... One is astonished to find so large a collection of birds, fishes, marbles, spars etc., etc accumulated in so short a space.'

Thus, our internationally important collection of zoological specimens is the result of some 200 years of collecting by our staff and students and by our graduates and friends of the University.

The Zoology Museum now cares for a wide range of material that is worldwide in scope and which covers the whole of the animal Kingdom, from protozoa to the great whales. The collection contains around 75,000 specimens with major holdings of vertebrates (c. 15,000 items), marine and fresh water invertebrates (c. 40,000) and terrestrial invertebrates (c. 20,000).

Here we aim to showcase some of the outstanding natural treasures that are in our care.

Glass model of Vellela sp.