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Primates collection of the RMCA

About the primates collection | Contact and bibliography | Downloads

Welcome to the primates collection of the Royal Musem for Central Africa

The primate collections of the Royal Museum for Central Africa represent a unique research tool that is intensively consulted by Belgian and foreign scientists. Between 2002 and 2005 The Belgian Science Policy Office funded the research project MO/37/007 "Restoration and valorisation of primatological collections".
The aim of the project was to further enhance the value of these collections through an optimisation of the access facilities of the actual specimens and through an update of the scientific and museological information related to them.
A detailed database has now been set up containing all the information relating to the individual specimens in terms of field data and preserved parts.

The primate material, especially the pongids, needed to be restored since frequent handling by researchers in the past had resulted in wear and damage of many specimens. Measures have been taken to reduce further deterioration to a minimum and include the development of specific guidelines for scientists wishing to consult the material in the future. The type of measurements taken and the kind of observations and manipulations done on the primates by future researchers are from now on closely monitored and the taking of certain standard measurements may be discouraged or even forbidden in the future. As an alternative, a database with metrical data is made available to the scientific community. Primatologists that have analysed the collections in the past 10 years have contributed to this database by depositing their raw measurements and other data (e.g., images of CT scans).

As in the past, researchers wishing to consult the primate collections of the RMCA are requested to contact the curator (E. Gilissen) and to indicate the type of material they want to investigate. Also the kind of observations or measurements they are interested in should be specified. To help future visitors to plan their research stay, the following data are summarized in the tables that can be downloaded :


More specific information on the primate holdings can be obtained through e-mail from the curator, e.g. number of specimens from a given species in a given region from a particular period. Digital images (CT-scans) will only be made available in the future, but metrical data can be obtained on request from the curator (and in some cases after negotiation with the scientist that deposited them in the database).






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