Virtually all groups of plants and animals, and the natural variations that exist within them, are represented in the Life Science Collections.
Our zoology collections contain all recent known animal groups, including 95 per cent of all known birds. Our insect collection holds half of the one million insect species known today.
With some of our earliest specimens dating from the late 1400s, the collections here provide insight into the natural world 400 years ago. Many of our specimens are from places that would be unrecognisable to their collectors today.
Nature's catalogue - how large is it?
The collections have been growing since the late 1700s. An average of 160,000 specimens are added every year.
We aim to database all of our collections. This will enable people to easily access information about them. It will also tell us exactly how many species we hold.