Grant Museum of Zoology
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The brain collection
UCL Museums Top Ten Objects: Grant Museum
Case 13, shelf 3 near the Museum door
An unusual comparative anatomy collection displaying the differences between the brains of a number of mammals and a reptile.
The majority of the brains on display come from The Gordon Museum Brain Collection, originally from the anatomical and pathological collection of Kings College London’s School of Medicine.
Each brain is preserved in alcohol and suspended in glass jars with thread. The collection is made up entirely of mammals, except for a single turtle, though the species are varied and geographically wide ranging. The brains were collected from Africa, Asia, South America and Australia and Europe.
Whilst most of the brains are whole, a few have been dissected to show the internal anatomy. Of particular interest are the tiger cub that was only a few hours old, and the domestic dog. The dog’s brain has been annotated and each section of the brain sports a tiny label that has been stapled to it.