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vertebrate Zoology

  • e past year was unusual in both the abundance and diversity

of stranded marine mammals along the Central California coast. During 2007, the Vertebrate Zoology staff responded to 27 cetacean strandings including seven species of dolphins and four species of whales. As a result, department staff conducted several necropsies including three Blue Whales, a Sperm Whale, a Minke Whale, and one Gray Whale in order to gather biological samples and determine cause of death. Based on our data, NOAA fisheries declared two Unusual Mortality Events (UMEs), one for the spring dolphin event and another for the fall Blue Whale mortalities. Associate Curator Michell Berman was designated the on-sight coordinator for both of these UMEs.


  • e most significant addition to our paleontology collection was

the donation of a Southern Mammoth (Mammuthus meridionalis) skeleton. Excavated in and donated by the City of Moorpark in 2005, this fossil represents the earliest species of mammoth known to have reached North America and is one of the most complete skeletons (60-70%) of this species found to date. With the receipt of additional Pygmy Mammoth (Mammuthus exilis) fossils from Santa Rosa and Santa Cruz islands, the Museum now houses the world’s largest collection of these fossils.

santa Barbara Museum of natural History is a member of the federal Marine Mammal stranding network. Museum scientists are responsible for collecting data and tissue samples from marine mammals found dead in ventura, santa Barbara, and san Luis obispo counties. curator of vertebrate Zoology Paul collins with the help of a volunteer, begins the process by taking measurements of this sperm Whale.

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