The purpose of a natural history collection is to document the biodiversity and distribution of nature. Continually building upon the specimens collected from the past allows changes occurring in the environment to be measured and better understood. Scientific collections contain a vast array of information that can be explored depending, in part, on what question a researcher is trying to answer. To enable this museums will collect and prepare animals and plants in different ways and preserve them for future use. At Auckland Museum the Natural History Collection has over 800,000 specimens – most from the North Island of New Zealand where the museum is situated. The Land Vertebrate Collection is a very small component of the total but it has a diverse range of specimen categories, particularly for the birds.
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