National Museum of Natural History (U.S.). Dept. of Vertebrate Zoology.

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The Department of Vertebrate Zoology was created in 1964 by the separation of the Department of Zoology into vertebrate and invertebrate branches. Vertebrate Zoology is the study of animals with backbones. Research in the department covers fishes, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals. The department holds the largest collection of vertebrate specimens in the world, including historically important collections from the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Research in the department provides a solid foundation of understanding for government agencies, conservation organizations, and individuals involved in fish and wildlife management. Zoologists from two other federal agencies work so closely with colleagues and specimens at the Museum that they are permanently stationed in the building. Specialists from the National Marine Fisheries Service of the U.S. Department of Commerce focus primarily on commercially important fishes, while those from the Geological Survey of the U.S. Department of the Interior focus on amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals.

Chairmen of the Department have included Philip Strong Humphrey, 1964-1968; George E. Watson, 1968-1972; Robert H. Gibbs, Jr., 1972-1978; George R. Zug, 1978-1983; W. Ronald Heyer, 1984-1987; Richard W. Thorington, 1987-1992; G. David Johnson, 1992-1999; Lynne R. Parenti, 1999-2004; and Richard P. Vari, 2005- .

Smithsonian Institution Archives, Agency History. Record 218084

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Gibbs, Robert H., Jr person
associatedWith Heyer, W. Ronald. person
associatedWith Humphrey, Philip Strong, 1926- person
associatedWith Johnson, G. David person
associatedWith Parenti, Lynne R. person
associatedWith Thorington, Richard W. person
associatedWith Vari, Richard P. person
associatedWith Watson, George E. 1931- person
associatedWith Zug, George R., 1938- person
Place Name Admin Code Country

Corporate Body

Active 1964

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Ark ID: w6pb0bhb

SNAC ID: 22808531