Museums

The Living World of Class 11

Museums have collection of preserved plants and animals for study and reference. Only those plants are preserved in museum which can not be kept in herbaria, e.g., algae, fungi, mosses, ferns, parts of Gymnosperms, fruits, underground storage organs, etc. Animals are preserved in chemical solutions (mostly formalin) as well as in stuffed and skeleton forms.

The collected specimens are correctly identified and labelled. They are stored and a catalogue is prepared for future reference.

The objective of preparing a museum is to record information and preserve specimens for taxonomic studies. It does intend to kill or destroy the animals unnecessarily. Biology students are asked to collect and preserve plants, plant parts and dead animals and others.

Important museums

  • American Museum of Natural History, New York, U.S.A.
  • State Museum of Natural History, Stuttgart, Germany.
  • Museum of Natural History, Switzerland.
  • National Museum of Natural History, Paris.
  • National Museum of Natural History, Barakhamba Road, New Delhi.
  • Museum of Mumbai Natural History Society (Hornbill House, Shahid Bhagat Singh Road), Mumbai.
  • Museum of Arthropoda (Shaniwar Peth), Pune.

Role:

  • The collection of specimens helps in gathering the first hand information about the habitat, soil and organisms of the area.
  • They are used to deposit type specimens whenever new taxa described.

Zoological Parks

An enclosed place where live wild animals are kept for public exhibition is called a zoological park. Zoological parks provide more natural environment.

A scientific purpose of the zoo is to breed the animals which otherwise are facing a threat in their natural habitat. Due to development activities, they are facing poaching and habitat destruction.

Information about common name and a scientific name is also displayed in the zoological garden park.

In India, there are about 300 zoological parks. A Central Zoo Authority looks after their management in India.

Role:

  • Study of live animal types.
  • Sources of tourist attraction.
  • Ex situ conservation through captive breeding of endangered animals.

Keys

A scheme for identification of plants and animals is known as Key. The term key refers to a set of alternate characters arranged in such manner that helps in the identification of an organism by selecting or eliminating the characters according to their presence or absence in the organisms. Thus, taxonomic keys are based on the contrasting characters.

Separate taxonomic keys are required for each taxonomic category like family, genus or species. These are more useful in identification of unknown organisms.

Being analytical in nature these are generally of two types, yoked or indented and bracketed.

The indented key provides sequence of choice between two or more statements of characters of species. The user has to make correct choice for identification. In a bracketed key the pairs of contrasting characters are used for identification and they are given numbers in brackets. The numbers on the right indicate the next choice of paired contrasting characters.

Example: Five genera of family Ranunculaceae (Clematis, Narvelia, Anemone, Nigella and Aconitum) are to be identified by using the following indented and bracketed keys, separately, by considering the characters of carpel, fruit, floral characters and leaves of the specimens. The first choice starts with carpel with single ovule and achene type of fruit in contrast to carpels being many ovules and fruits being follicles.

INDENTED KEY

CharacterGenus

Carpel single ovuled; fruit achene

Leaves opposite, compound

Petals absent, leaves without tendrilClematis

Petals present, third or terminal leaflets modified into tendrilNarvelia

Leaves alternate or radicalAnemone

Carpel many ovuled; fruit follicle

Carpels united at base; flowers regular Nigella

Carpels free at base; flowers irregular Aconitum

BRACKETED KEY

Character                             Genus

(1) Carpel single ovuled; fruit achene               2

(1) Carpel many ovuled; fruit follicle                4

(2) Leaves opposite; compound                 3

(2) Leaves alternate, radical                 Anemon

(3) Petals absent, leaves without tendril            Clematis

(3) Petals present, third or terminal leaflets modified into tendril  Narvellia

(4) Carpels united at the base; flowers regular          Nigella

(4) Carpels free, flowers irregular              Aconitum

Keys are also used for identification of animals.

Other Taxonomic Aids

Other taxonomic aids are monographs, manuals, publications, etc.

Monographs give comprehensive account of complete compilation of available information of any one family or genus at a given time.

Manuals contain compiled information about area covered, keys, description of families, genus and species.

Publications like periodicals and dictionaries are brought out to provide information about new additions and updated information.

  • Forest Research Institute is located at Dehradun.
  • National Botanical Research Institute is located at Lucknow.
  • Botanical Survey of India is an organization for exploring the plant wealth of the country. Its headquarter is at Kolkata.
  • The first complete flora of the British India was compiled by J. D. Hooker (1875, 97) in seven volumes.
  • Indian Botanical Garden has the great Banyan tree (Ficus benghalensis) which is about 200 years old.
  • Many famous Botanical gardens include green houses for cacti and other succulents.
  • The term ‘zoological gardens’ was originally used for the gardens of London Zoological Society in Regent’s Park, which was laid down in 1814 by John Nash.

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