Overview of Specimens

earthwormAnimals are incredibly diverse in their form, function and behaviour. The tiniest insect could fit comfortably on the head of a pin whereas the Blue Whale, the largest animal that has ever lived, reaches over 30 metres in length and weighs the same as 2000 adult human beings. Over a million species of animals have been described but there are many more waiting to be discovered. Estimates range from 5 million to 100 million species, many of which live in the dwindling tropical rain forests. There must be millions of strange and wonderful creatures waiting to be discovered by future explorers in the depths of the sea. We know much more about the surface of the moon than the bottom of the oceans.

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Due to the destructive activities of Man, species extinction rates have on average been a thousand times faster during the past 500 years than the previous 500 million years. The fossils of long extinct animals are a sobering reminder that the diversity of life is a fragile thing and should be treasured for future generations.

The Cole Museum provides a unique opportunity to apprecsea urchiniate the rich diversity of animal form and anatomy in a single location and includes representatives of all the major invertebrate and vertebrate groups. Depending on classification, there are between 30 and 35 animal phyla, 24 of which are held by the museum. The Cole Museum has many representatives of the nine major phyla: Chordates (1665), Echinoderms (139), Cnidaria (198), Sponges (77), Flatworms (61), Annelid worms (106), Molluscs (310), Nematodes (19) and Arthropods (577).

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