Mammalogy conducts research, research training, and graduate education on the world's mammals — their global diversity, evolution, geography, genomics, morphology, conservation, ecology, and behavior. These studies are grounded in research collections of 180,000 specimens and associated data.


Macro Photo of a skull


The mammalogy research collections include extensive historical collections from Central America, Mexico, and southeast, central, western regions of the United States and Alaska. Recently added holdings include specimens from the Philippines,  New Guinea, and important historical material from Texas. The program continues to excel at emphasizing its taxonomic strengths in bats, rodents, and insectivores. Most of our collection consists of well prepared skins, skulls, and complete skeletons, with recent specimens accompanied by tissues.


Public Programs about Mammals

Mammals curator Robert M. Timm periodically offers a short introduction to a mammal of the month at the KU Natural History Museum. Recent programs included bats, wolves, bears, rabbits, beavers, and porcupines. The lectures, which are appropriate for all ages, include education about the animal's typical characteristics, habitat, and behavior. The KU Natural History Museum also works with Professor Timm to offer bat education events each fall. Upcoming event details are posted here.


Bob Timm’s most recent paper is on the distribution and genetics of the Shope’s papillomavirus in rabbits ( The virus is one of a few known to directly cause cancer and has served as a model for the study of human papillomavirus (HPV).   KU has the world’s largest collection of rabbits with the virus and Bob has added a number of new specimens to the collection. One of the highlights of the work by Bob and his colleagues is successfully demonstrating that the virus can be identified genetically from rabbit specimens that were obtained 100 years ago!