Vertebrate zoology

Example specimen

Echidna, from Knowsley Menagerie

Edward Stanley, the 13th Earl of Derby of Knowsley Hall near Liverpool, bequeathed his internationally important vertebrate zoology collection to the people of Liverpool in 1851. This collection founded our museum service.

It included about 15,000 bird and mammal specimens and contained more than 400 type specimens (those which act as the standards for a particular species). The Derby Collection still forms the core of World Museum's vertebrate collections, which are ranked amongst the top twenty in importance in the world. The vertebrate specimens now total about 78,760 and cover almost all parts of the world.

Most of the specimens are cabinet skins, but there are also about 4,000 mounted specimens of all shapes and sizes. The osteology collection contains skulls, skeletons, casts, models, sub-fossils and excavated bone. Most of the bats, reptiles, amphibians and fish are stored in alcohol and we also have a large collection of bird's eggs. A reference library, archives, biological records, photographs and a small art collection are also present.

Collection areas