scientific, cultural, and educational institutions in which animal collections are assembled (animals in fixing fluids, dried or specially prepared animals, stuffed animals, skeletons, hides, and articles made from horns, bones, shells, etc.).
In zoological museums scientific research is conducted on the taxonomic description of fauna, zoogeography, variations, comparative morphology and anatomy, and evolution, that is, historical development. In addition to extensive cultural and education work on zoology and the popularization and propagandizing of ideas of environmental protection among wide segments of the population, educational programs for students of secondary and higher educational institutions are implemented. Consultations on zoological problems of hunting, agriculture, forestry, and medical zoology are conducted. Collections of zoological museums consist of scientific collections and materials on display; the former are used for scientific research, the latter as educational materials.
In most zoological museums only part of the collections is used for displays. The scientific collections are systematically arranged. As a rule, separate species of animals are represented with a series of specimens of different sexes and ages from various geographic locations. Displayed collections are shown in exhibit halls, with animals generally arranged systematically, sometimes according to zoogeographic principles. Frequently a group of animals is reproduced in its natural environment or against a background of characteristic terrain (biogroups, dioramas). Sometimes educational anatomical-morphological and evolutional expositions or displays reflecting the practical significance of animals (economic use, hunting and trapping, acclimatization, breeding, and protection) are set up. Collections are mounted in glass cases (large items are sometimes displayed openly). Microscopically small items generally are not displayed; they are replaced by microphotographs, sketches, or enlarged models. Labels and explanatory texts contain information on the taxonomic status of the animal and its geographic distribution, distinctive biological features, and economic value. Sometimes there is information on the evolutional interrelationship of individual groups and species of animals. Maps on distribution, sketches of structural features, and photographs of the animals in natural environments frequently serve as supplementary explanatory materials. Temporary thematic exhibits are often organized in zoological museums. In some, semiautomatic film projectors with film shorts are used, and displays are provided with sound tracks of the voices of animals. In zoological museums of educational institutions where zoology is taught collections are usually systematically arranged in glass cases. Any item or specimen may be transferred to an auditorium for practical study or may be shown at a lecture. Microscopic specimens are examined by means of regular and binocular magnifying glasses and microscopes. There are several specimens of numerous items for group laboratory studies.
The largest zoological museums of the USSR are found in Leningrad, Moscow, and Kiev. Zoological museums are part of universities and pedagogical and scientific research institutes in L’vov, Chernovtsy, Odessa, Kazan, Tbilisi, Yerevan, Ashkhabad, Tashkent, Alma-Ata, Novosibirsk, and Sverdlovsk.
In Leningrad one of the world’s largest zoological museums, established in 1832 on a basis of the Kunstkammer (1714) of Peter the Great, is part of the Zoological Institute of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR. Nearly 50,000 species of animals are on display. Scientific collections stored in the Zoological Institute number approximately 15 million specimens of invertebrates and 500,000 specimens of vertebrates. Many of its displays are unique. The mammoth (stuffed animal and skeleton) discovered in a layer of permafrost on the bank of the Berezovka River in Siberia is world famous. There are stuffed displays of recently extinct animals, such as the Tasmanian wolf and the American passenger pigeon, and of animals that have now become extremely rare Przhevalsky’s horse, the okapi, the snow leopard, the great California vulture, and the Komodo dragon. The Neptune chalice sponge is on display. Of coral polyps, the world’s largest specimen of marine sea fan (2.6 m long), collected by the drifting scientific station SP-6, may be seen. Biogroups with biocenoses from sea and dry land are widely represented, including segments of coral reef, mangrove brush, and the littorals and shelves of arctic, temperate, and antarctic seas. There are biogroups with storks and other birds of the environmental zones of the USSR, a complex of biogroups of arctic birds and wild animals, a biogroup of Siberian tigers, a beaver colony, saigas, and European brown and polar bears. There are also dioramas.
In Moscow the Zoological Museum is part of Moscow State University. It was founded as the Cabinet of Natural History in 1791 and opened to the public in 1805. More than 2 million invertebrate and 200,000 vertebrate animal specimens are maintained in its scientific collections. Collections include a number of unique displays and are arranged according to a zoological system. In Kiev the Zoological Museum is part of the Zoological Institute of the Academy of Sciences of the Ukrainian SSR. It was founded in 1919 and reconstructed in 1967.
The most numerous and scientifically valuable foreign zoological collections are kept in large museums of natural history (the American Museum of Natural History in New York, the United States Natural History Museum in Washington, the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, the National Museum of Natural History in Paris, and the British Museum in London), in zoological museums belonging, as a rule, to universities and zoological institutes (in Berlin [GDR], Vienna, Prague, Copenhagen, and Stockholm), and in the museum of the Zoological Services of India in Calcutta. Monographs on different species of animals, reports on large groups of animals, and collections of scientific works are written on a basis of collections assembled in zoological museums.
D. V. NAUMOV and O. L. ROSSOLIMO [9–1733’1]