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The herpetology collection in the Peabody’s Division of Vertebrate Zoology has over 23,000 specimens of amphibians (over 300 taxa) and reptiles (more than 1,300 taxa). Holdings include 95 type specimens representing 8 taxa.

Specimens collected in the 19th century were generally not preserved with formalin, and are therefore suitable for research techniques such as DNA sequencing. In many cases these specimens represent localities that no longer exist, making them valuable for the study of systematic, phylogenetic, population and biogeographical patterns. Of particular note is a series of Cnemidophorus collected in 1868 in Florida: the genus is thought to speciate rapidly through chromosomal change and parthenogenesis, and the series is thus of historical importance to evolutionary biologists.

The collection also includes large series of skinks from Egypt and various taxa of amphibians and reptiles from Cameroon, Pakistan, and other areas that are now difficult to access for field research.

The Yale Peabody Museum’s collections are available to legitimate researchers for scholarly use. Loans are issued to responsible individuals at established institutions. Loans and access to the collection can be arranged through the Collections Manager.

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