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What is there to see?

Many items in the collections relate to the work of renowned St Andrews professors of natural history such as William Carmichael MacIntosh, D'Arcy Wentworth Thompson and H.G. Callan.  Amongst them are:

Fossil Fish from Dura Den

Excavated in the 19th century, these fossils provide solid material evidence of the development of life.  Though it was later disproved, at the time they were thought at the time to demonstrate a potential link between land and water based life. 

Venus' Flower Basket (Euplectella aspergillum)

The inner cavity of the sponge is ofetn the home of a pair of small symbiotic shrimp.  Once the shrimp grow they can never leave and so the sponge was often given as a wedding gift to symbolise domestic harmony.  This species was highlighted recently in the BBC's Blue Planet II.

Quetzal (Bird of Paradise)

This was donated from the collections of Alfred Russel Wallace, the eminent naturalist who, with Charles Darwin, was co-inventor of the theory of evolution by natural selection.

Cast of a hind leg of a Diplidocus

Presented to the collections by industrialist and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie.

Examples of extinct species:

  • The dodo
  • The Moa
  • The Passenger Pigeon
  • The St Kilda house mouse

Scientific Instruments

The museum also contains a small but important collection of instruments, particularly microscopes, used in Biology and the University of St Andrews over the past century.