Special Displays

 In 2007 the Cole Museum of Zoology celebrated its centenary. In the past 100 years, both the subject of zoology and the natural world have changed significantly. When Professor Cole began collecting specimens for the museum in 1907, Charles Darwin's theory of evolution by natural selection was not supported by an understanding of the mechanisms of inheritance. The subsequent integration of genetics and evolutionary theory has created a powerful new approach to understanding the diversity of life.

During the past 20 years, breakthroughs in molecular biology have allowed us to study not just a small part, but the whole of the genetic information in an organism (genomics). Developmental biologists have worked out how DNA directs the growth of the body to ensure that, for example, the correct number of legs develop in the right part of the body. DNA technology has also contributed to the field of taxonomy.

conservation caseZoological collecting has also changed over the last 40 years.  Many species originally identified by Professor Cole as common are now listed as endangered. Today collecting animal specimens is restricted by CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora). Three special cases were produced to illustrate these changes.

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