Natural History


To recite an old cliche, the world is a wondrous place. One word is all that is needed to describe the awe, beauty, intrigue that nature surrounds us with: biodiversity. The vast network we call life on this planet has evolved from simple monocellular organisms to create an array of creatures from the beautiful to the bizarre. Everything from the butterflies fluttering in your garden, to the mushrooms popping up on old fallen logs, to the giant pill-bugs scurrying across the ocean floor, to the old redwoods and the birds that fill their branches, to the woolly rhinoceroses that used to roam the vast lands of North America, to the viruses that make you sick, all contribute to this awesome place we call home. It's amazing how many different unique shapes and sizes life takes, and if we can imagine life among the trillions of other stars nearby life may truly be even more diverse than we thought.

Unfortunately, this massive amount of biodiversity is being threatened at an alarming rate. Throughout the course of Earth's lifetime there have been five mass extinction events-but now through human impact we are entering the sixth mass extinction. Unlike the other events, this one is not caused by an unpreventable natural disaster, but rather by the harmful effects caused by humans. Clear-cutting the rainforests, pumping tons of excess greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, introducing un-native species to new ecosystems, massive amounts of pollution, and overhunting have all overwhelmed nature's ability to cope and thus we will lose thousands of species in the coming decade if we as a people don't do something about it. So think about the importance of life and do your part to help stop the destruction of our home. Replace an incandescent lightbulb at home and recycle more, just keep in mind the future.

The Sholesonian has only recently formed the Collections of Natural History, but is quite proud of the specimens it holds. Pieces from most aspects of life can be found stored away or on display. Insects, crustaceans, amphibians, arachnids, flowers, trees, and others call their home our museum. Following this short introduction will be a comprehensive list of all the items in the collection organized by category. Those that have posted will be linked, whereas the others will be left blank. If you have a particular question about a particular specimen or the collection please feel free to contact us.