National Chung Hsing University (NCHU) on Friday opened its on-campus natural history museum after three years of collecting artifacts, which include fossils from several hundred million years ago.
The NCHU Department of Life Sciences said it gathered animal and plant artifacts from the school’s other departments and teachers, some of which had been in teachers’ collections for more than 60 years, to establish the museum.
The collection includes items of scientific importance akin to those found in national museums, it said.
Photo: Su Meng-chuan, Taipei Times
They include Taiwan’s second-largest giant squid specimen, other ancient fossils and the tusks of Asian elephant Malan, which died of old age at the Taipei Zoo in 2002, it said.
The Taichung-based school said it is to open the museum to visitors by appointment, adding that the museum’s mission also includes promoting ecological conservation.
The department was founded in 1956 when the school’s botany and animal science departments merged.
Photo: Su Meng-chuan, Taipei Times
“The researchers in those departments had already been accumulating all kinds of plant seeds, vertebrate and invertebrate specimens for their research,” Department of Life Sciences dean Chen Chuan-mu (陳全木) said. “The school had an herbarium, but it was mostly used for storage, and not put to its full potential for research.”
When the life sciences department began work on the museum three years ago, it received solid support from the school’s administration, as well as from Council of Agriculture Minister Chen Chi-chung (陳吉仲), he said.
The department also received help from accomplished researchers, he said, citing the collection’s 195-million-year-old dinosaur embryo fossil, which was donated by international researcher Timothy Huang (黃大一).
Huang discovered the fossil in China’s Yunnan Province in 2003 and later worked with University of Toronto paleontologist Robert Reisz, who led a team to conduct further research in the area.
The collection also includes fossils from the ediacaran period 542 million to 635 million years ago, a 4m crocodile skin and the world’s longest marine invertebrate, he said
“We also have the skeleton of a pilot whale and the remains of an Asian giant softshell turtle that died in Taichung’s Fengle Park (豐樂公園) in 2020. The turtle is a class-2 protected species,” he said.
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