Getting the Bats in Order

Another bit from our WFSC undergraduate intern Lauren Wimbish, this time she’s in our collection of bats organizing their skins and skulls-

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Lauren Wimbish proofing the order of bat specimens in the collection.

This past June I spent many hours reorganizing the bat collection at the BRTC. Bats are mammals that belong to the Order Chiroptera, which is the second largest mammal group (only rodents belong to a more diverse Order). They are also the only mammals that are capable of sustaining true flight. The collection consists of many different species of bats from all over the world, but mostly the specimens are from the Americas. Reorganizing each case consisted of going through each drawer and making sure the specimens were in alphabetical order by family, genus, species, and geographic locality. Each drawer would contain at least one family of bats. The bats within that family were alphabetically placed by species name and geographic region within that same species. Usually, each case had about 12-15 drawers and would take roughly an hour to go through. Most of the specimens I organized were fairly small and did not vary much in size. While shuffling through the bats I would always put my headphones in and enjoy some music to help give a relaxing work setting.  On days when the air conditioning was struggling to cool the building this was especially necessary. Texas summers can be pretty brutal, even inside. On a few occasions my work lead me outside and I would have to tough it out in the Texas heat.

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