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Spring 2013
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Cornell University Museum of Vertebrates

The Cornell University Museum of Vertebrates (CUMV) is organized into four groups of specimens: fishes (the Ichthyology Collection), amphibians and reptiles (the Herpetology Collection), birds (the Ornithology Collection), and mammals (the Mammalogy Collection). The museum’s North American holdings are strong across all classes of vertebrate, and Cornell faculty, staff, and students have collected thousands of specimens on research expeditions all over the world. The museum is a tremendous resource for scientists, conservationists, students, and educators. Scientists may borrow specimens to study physical traits, they can examine population-level patterns, or they can take an even closer look, analyzing for example DNA or environmental contaminants deposited in the skin of animals. Some species that appear identical show vital differences at the genetic level—differences that help us to draw more accurate family trees.