Division of Mammals

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Division of Mammals
Museum of Southwestern Biology
1 University of New Mexico
Albuquerque, NM 87131
Division of Mammals
Museum of Southwestern Biology
CERIA Building 83 Room 204
302 Yale Blvd NE
University of New Mexico
Albuquerque, NM 87131

History of the Mammal Collection

1936 - 1955: William J. Koster

William J. Koster joined the UNM faculty in 1936 and formal management and maintenance of the MSB collections began. The MSB collections served primarily as teaching collections for the department of Biology. The mammal collections grew slowly until 1955 when James S. Findley assumed duties as curator of mammals.

William J. Koster

1955 - 1978: James S. Findley

Between 1955 and 1978 more than 36,000 specimens were added to the collection. The initial focus of the collection was regional with Findley and his students conducting research on mammals of New Mexico and the southwest. In 1959, Arthur H. Harris assembled a distributional checklist of New Mexican mammals. In the years that followed, Findley received financial support from UNM and the NSF to continue his research on southwestern mammals, including bats. During this period the MSB acquired significant collections of mammals from Costa Rica, Panama, Africa, and Mexico through the research activities of Dr. Findley and his students. The division also began a major educational program in mammalian ecology and systematics during this period at the graduate and undergraduate levels and 60 students received graduate degrees under the direction of Dr. Findley. In 1978, Dr. Findley was appointed Chairman of the Biology Department and Director of the MSB and Dr. Terry L. Yates was appointed Curator of Mammals. 

William J. Koster

1978 - 2003: Terry L. Yates

The hiring of Dr. Yates added new dimensions to mammalogy at UNM. In 1979, the Division of Mammals began saving new materials that formed the nucleus of the Division of Genomic Resources, now the largest collection of frozen mammalian tissues in the world. A large percentage of the current MSB collection of mammals now consists of “holistic” voucher specimens that include not only skins and skulls, but post-cranial skeletons, frozen tissues and in many cases chromosome preparations, and endo and ecto parasites. More than 90,000 specimens (including federal BRD specimens) were added under Yates’ tenure as Curator. Yates and his students added major collections from Asia, North America, Europe, and Latin America.

William J. Koster

2003 - present: Joseph A. Cook

Dr. Cook continued the tradition of Findley and Yates of active growth and use of the collection through student-based research projects. Under Cook, NSF, NIH, USDA, and other federally supported projects have added over 100,000 new specimens from northwestern North America (Alaska, British Columbia, NW Territories, and Yukon), Asia (Russia, Mongolia, China), Latin America (Chile, Panama), and the Southwestern US.
Joseph A. Cook