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Home › News › Hunterian Museum displays rare natural history specimens

Hunterian Museum displays rare natural history specimens

19 January 2011

Mammoth teeth, a dodo skeleton and a leg from an Irish Elk are just three of the rare specimens going on show from today at the Hunterian Museum as part of the natural history display Extinct. Running until Saturday 23rd July 2011, the temporary exhibition gives people a rare glimpse of the Odontological Collection – a museum resource mainly used for professional and academic research. 

Specimens on display range from pre-historic mastodon teeth (a pre-historic relative of the elephant) through to 20th century remains of a Thylacine (Tasmanian Tiger). In addition, there are remains of now critically endangered animals, including the polar bear, panda and gorilla, to draw attention to the continued struggle endangered animals face and the contribution this material can make to the conservation of rare species.

Milly Farrell, Assistant Curator said: “People are often surprised to learn that the Hunterian Museum has a large archive of natural history specimens and so we wanted to give them the opportunity to see some of the treasures in the Odontologic Collection. The items in ‘Extinct’ are particularly important not only because they are rare, but because they are still used today in important conservation research projects - such as the Gorilla Pathology Study Group in Africa.”

Further information on Extinct can be found in the Museums section; admission to the museum is free.

Pictures available on request.



Notes to Editor

1. The Royal College of Surgeons of England is committed to enabling surgeons to achieve and maintain the highest standards of surgical practice and patient care. Registered charity number: 212808.

2. The Hunterian Museum at the Royal College of Surgeons of England is based on the collections of the 18th-century surgeon John Hunter. Its permanent displays include over 3,500 specimens of human and animal anatomy and pathology, as well as exhibitions about surgery and medicine. The museum is open to all and admission is free.

If you have any queries please contact:
- Matthew Worrall  – Email:; T: 020 7869 6047
- Elaine Towell  – Email:; T: 020 7869 6045
- Heather Casey  - Email:; T: 020 7869 6042
- Out-of-hours: 07966 486 832