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Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History
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Department ofVertebrate Zoology

Division of Mammals

Tarsius bancanus
Brown Four-eyed Opossum
Metachirus nudicaudatus (Brown Four-eyed Opossum), Bolivia. L. H. Emmons. © Smithsonian Institution.

The Division of Mammals houses a world-class collection of roughly 590,000 preserved specimens. This collection supports a wide range of scientific research by resident staff and associates, as well as numerous scientists who visit each year. Divisional collection management staff preserve, conserve, and document our specimens as part of the Congressionally mandated "National Collections" to ensure their accessiblity to present and future research activities.

Our mammal specimens have also played an integral role in such NMNH exhibitions as The Kenneth E. Behring Family Hall of Mammals and the African Elephant in our museum's rotunda. We also support public education by maintaining several databases relevant to mammals.

Featured Research Highlights

Diversity and Biogeography of Treeshrews

Neal Woodman: Diversity and Biogeography of Treeshrews

Treeshrews (order Scandentia) are small-bodied mammals endemic to South and Southeast Asia. Since it was first described in 1820, the Common Treeshrew (Tupaia glis) has had a complex taxonomic history that has led to widely variable estimates of diversity, misidentification of populations, and general confusion regarding it and closely related species. One result is that T. glis has been treated as a poorly defined "wastebasket" taxon encompassing as many as 27 named forms. Read more...