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MLA Full: "The Philip L. Wright Zoological Museum." YouTube, uploaded by thebrainscoop, 14 January 2013,
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Wherein I give you the personal, behind-the-scenes tour of our vast collection and its variable rooms.

Welcome to The Brain Scoop. My name is Emily, and I will be your host.


The Brain Scoop is written and hosted by:
Emily Graslie

Directed, Edited, and Scored by:
Michael Aranda

Created By:
Hank Green

Transcriptions and translations contributed by Martina Šafusová, Rachel Prunty, Linamaría Gallegos Mayorga, Nur Iskandar Nuruddin, Giulia Mancini, João Henrique Diniz, John-Alan Pascoe, Ulla Aeschbacher, Anne-Sophie Caron, Tomer Halevy, Nat Phon-or, Sabrina, Karolina Zetterlund, Joyce Ong, Tony Chu, Adam Wojniłło, Lisa Kurenshchikova, Jenny Grøterud, Bedour Alshaigy, Roman Wasarab, Seth Bergenholtz, and Topi Viljamaa. You guys are THE ABSOLUTE BEST!!!


I love cats. Everybody asks me if I have a cat and I say, "No, but I do have a fluffy orange boyfriend named Mr Howell." 

My name is Emily Graslie, and I am the volunteer curatorial assistant here at the University of Montana Zoological Museum.

 The Main Collections Room

In this room alone we have about 21,000 specimens. Mammals are in the middle, the birds are around the perimeter. This is what we refer to as our "comparative collection," in fact the entire collection can be used for comparative reasons. We work with the forensic anthropologists and with the Montana State Crime Lab to help them identify random bones and faunal remains from sites all across the state.

We have archaeologists who will go out on an archaeological dig and find random bones and then bring them here and definitively say, like, 600 years ago somebody made an arrow-sharpening shaft tool out of a white-tailed deer metapodial. And that's awesome.

 The Sheep Room

So, where I'm standing right now is what we refer to as the "Sheep Room" because the majority of the things in here are sheep and their skulls. Uh, we also refer to it as the overflow skull storage room, which is kind of redundant 'cause the whole museum is basically overflow skull storage.

In this room, it's pretty much floor to ceiling of what I estimate to be a couple hundred bighorn sheep. We also have an entire moose, and we have a horse in here, and probably about two bison, and it's also where we keep our filing cabinet. So it's the office.

 The Cold Room

This is the cold room, and this is where we store the majority of our pelts that aren't in cabinets, and it cuts down on bug infestations. You'll get things like dermested beetles and carpet beetles that will eat these sort of things, so by keeping it refrigerated, it cuts down on a lot of these problems. We have a ton of stuff in here too; this is probably one of the most eclectic rooms of our collection. We have everything from these gigantic wolf pelts right here hanging from the ceiling, we have river otters and leopard seals and warthogs and primates and gibbons and spider monkeys and anteaters and prehensile-tailed porcupines and a zebra. And a peacock and leopard rugs. And a lot of really cool stuff that you will probably get to see sometime soon.

It's not really ideal to have these kind of things stored in a cold room, because it has to be refrigerated, and if you can imagine things in your refrigerator going bad if you have a leak, animal pelts also go bad if you have a leak. So you can get moldy monkeys. That happened. Once.

 The Bird Room

This is probably, arguably, my favorite room in the entire collection if not the whole universe of the world. This is what we call our "bird room." Uh, I think it's kind of obvious but in case you haven't noticed, it's a room full of live-mounted, taxidermied birds. And a raccoon back here.

Why is there a raccoon in the bird room? Because I found that guy behind a cabinet a couple of months ago, so I took him out to take some pictures and then I didn't feel like putting him back in the dark depths of oblivion. We also have a bunny on the floor, but he's only got one ear.

 The Prep Lab

Ugh, gotta clean that up later. And this is our preparation lab. This is where all of the magic happens. Any kind of dry preparation like study skins happens on that table, brain removal happens in the sink. This right here is a freezer that is literally full of dead birds of all kinds of shapes and sizes and assortments. This is a refrigerator, which sometimes people forget, it's just a refrigerator, so stuff gets stinky in here. Back there is the mammal freezer. Right now there's a Patagonian mara, which is the fourth largest rodent in the world, a bunch of bats and shrews and mice and the occasional wolf or coyote or fox. There're guinea pigs in there, too. I don't know. We just got those.

 The Dermestid Colony

This is where we put stuff when we want to get it clean, quickly. It is a colony full of flesh-eating beetles. They will eat the flesh. Not off of living things. People ask me if I'm afraid I'm going to be eaten alive by a bunch of beetles, and that's not gonna happen. Before a skeleton can safely go into our collection, it has to first be run through the beetles to get all of the muscle tissue off of it. Because despite how good we might be with cleaning a skull, we can't do the work of a tiny, very itty bitty beetle, that will eat all of the little detail-y bits off of the bone. 

So these guys eat muscle tissue, And it's normally the larva that will eat all of it. The adults really don't eat anything, they basically just have sex and party in here all the time. Seriously, if you want to watch an orgy on campus, it is in here.


Once again, my name is Emily, please subscribe to the channel, and this is a brain scoop.

(Outro and Credits)

It still has brains on it.