NTU HIGHLIGHTS August 2014  
  Campus SCENES  
Museum of Zoology Houses Valuable Old Specimens from NTU's Japanese Days

NTU's Department of Zoology and Department of Botany played influential roles in the history of biological research in Taiwan and East Asia for many decades before the two were merged as the Department of Life Science in 2003. Over the years, the departments' respective Zoological Specimens Hall and Botanical Specimens Hall accumulated thousands of plant and animal specimens, many of which were collected as far back as the time of the university's establishment as Taihoku Imperial University in 1928.

To this day, the Department of Life Science has undertaken the task of preserving and organizing these valuable specimens, ensuring that they remain viable research resources. Moreover, the two specimen halls joined the NTU Museums Group, which includes a total of ten museums, as the Museum of Zoology and Herbarium of NTU in 2007, and has since been dedicated to the promotion of their rich collections.

During the Japanese rule, the colonial government used Taihoku Imperial University as a base to actively develop its knowledge of and interest in not just Taiwan but also neighboring regions. Consequently, the Museum of Zoology's collection includes a wide array of fauna specimens that are not indigenous to Taiwan.

Under both the Japanese and Chinese Nationalist governments, the gathering of animal specimens was at times influenced by the nation’s economic concerns. For example, the government's promotion of research on rodents and fish in an effort to bolster its knowledge of agriculture, public health, and fisheries led to a sudden influx of rodent and fish specimens.

The museum is presently hosting a fascinating exhibition on animal bioacoustics. Designed around three types of animals of entirely different habitats―whales, elephants, and birds―the exhibition reveals the importance of and surprising facts about vocal and auditory communication in the animal kingdom. Not only are the displayed specimens visually striking, the informative signs and helpful museum guides help visitors understand the different ways animals generate and receive sound, as well as how they use auditory communication to find mates, locate food, and build social groups.