Modern skeletal reference collections are essential tools to help with identifying fossil bones to family and species. Recently the Florisbad Quaternary Research Station (FQRS) entered into a partnership with the Zoology department of the McGregor Museum to collect and exchange material for our modern reference collections. This process meant clearing out material collected over many years by staff of the McGregor museum, including road-kills and specimens brought in by the general public. Material which has been housed in their freezers, but which is no longer appropriate for their own collections.
Over the course of two days we cleared the freezers (three of them!) specimen by specimen, identifying the animals, labelling and recording and then bagging them for their trip to our facilities at the FQRS. Once out at Florisbad the material was transferred into containers and laid out in the “vrot-hokke” (a decommissioned ablution block) to decompose naturally. In a few months when the bugs have done their work we will begin the process of cleaning the bones and accessioning the new material into the collections. This collaboration has increased the FQRS modern reference collection by more than 250 specimens, most of them new birds species.