Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

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Maintenance on this system will make it temporarily unavailable for short periods of time between 8:00 and 10:00 AM EDT this Saturday, 06 June.

Search will be unavailable on Tuesday, 17 April, from 10 to 10:30 AM (EDT)
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Mammal Collections

The Division of Mammals, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, houses and maintains the world's largest mammal collection with over 600,000 specimens. The taxonomic and geographic scope of the USNM (acronym derived from our former name United States National Museum) mammal collection spans the globe, with especially strong representation from North America, Central America, northern South America, Africa, and southeast Asia. The research value of this collection to mammalogists is evidenced by the 3500 primary type specimens preserved, a number exceeded only by The Natural History Museum, London.

Search the Mammal Collections

Key word searches on any available field can be run from the Keyword Search tab. More specialized searches can be run on specific fields of data from the Search by Field and Whale Collection search tabs. Don't know what to search for? Try one of the three Quick Browse searches below.

Please note that our entire holdings are completely or partially listed in our specimen database at present. There are currently only a small number of specimens with images associated with them. If you spot an error in our data please use the Feedback tab to let us know.

Currently results are limited to 5000 records, sorted by scientific name. Please be aware that some searches on single, broad terms may correspond to a far greater number of records, therefore narrowing searches with additional terms is advised.


See the Help tab to learn more about searching and then exploring your returned results (sorting, exporting, etc.).

Quick Browse Searches

Use the By Field search to find specimen data that match values in specific database fields. Enter a value or choose one from the dropdown lists.

Whale Collection Search: Use this search to find specimen, observation, and other data from the Whale Collection. This search includes some fields that are not available in Search by Field, including: Collection Method, Sexual and Physical Maturity, and Specimen Condition. You may also select only records with accompanying multimedia content. See Search by Field, above, for more information on filling-in dropdowns and text fields.

Enter your keywords separated by spaces and click Search. Records that match your search terms will be returned.

Note that searching for common (vernacular) names may not yield the expected results. Associating common names with specimen records is a work in progress.

Keyword search example: canidae british columbia types

The results of your searches can be displayed in Grid (a sortable, customizable table) or Gallery View (best for reviewing images). Use the Switch button Change View to cycle between these views.

In Grid View:

In Gallery View:

See Exporting Results for information on downloading results to, for example, Excel.

Open the full collection record by clicking the expansion button (Expansion button) in Grid View, or anywhere within the image frame in Gallery View. Inverse expansion buttons (Collapse button) indicate records with multimedia (typically, images).

Sort results in Grid View by clicking the column header (or by choosing Sort from the column's dropdown menu).

Export all or selected results by clicking the Export Results as CSV button in the bottom toolbar in Grid or Gallery View.

Here are a few search tips:

To create a link to specific records at NMNH provide a querystring for:

where QUERYSTRING is (use a plus-sign to separate case-insensitive terms):

It is best to use only letters, numbers, pluses (+), dashes (-), and commas in your querystrings, and to avoid other characters.

Please use the Feedback page to report problems you find with the data, or with using these search pages.