Illustrations of a small brown bat, and a  young alligator, over top of a photograph of reptile, amphibian, mammal, and fish specimens in jars
Photograph by Jamie Betts, illustrations by Katie McBride

A library of (formerly) living things

September 15, 2021

Life's Rich Pageant

Despite all of our digital advances, examining physical specimens remains a core activity when studying the biological sciences. The specimens below are among the many housed in the Gottwald Center for the Sciences, some so old and faded that faculty don’t know precisely which species they are. Others were collected by them personally.

“This material is extremely valuable,” said Rafael de Sá, professor and Clarence E. Denoon Jr. Chair in Natural Sciences. “Some of the skulls are from species that are currently threatened with extinction and for sure are no longer available to be collected.”

Illustrations of 1.) a lined seahorse, 2.) a pit viper, 3.) a leopard frog, 4.) an alligator hatchling, and 5.) a small brown bat, each with a line pointing to its respective location in a photograph of many animal specimens in jars, for study in the comparative vertebrate anatomy classroom

1.) Lined seahorse, Hippocampus erectus
Found in the western Atlantic from Canada to Brazil and throughout the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea

2.) Pit viper (species undetermined), Subfamily Crotalinae, includes species such as rattlesnakes, lanceheads, and copperheads
Found across Eurasia and the Americas

3.) Northern leopard frog, Lithobates pipiens/ Rana pipiens
Found across much of North America

4.) Alligator (hatchling), Alligator mississippiensis
Found from Coastal Carolina to the Deep South and Texas

5.) Little brown bat, Myotis lucifugus
Found across North America