Animal Sciences

Hen of the golden Italian

This taxidermy of a female golden Italian is representative of a large number of taxidermy specimens representing common species in animal husbandry. Such specimens were used in teaching in previous centuries to teach students aspects of anatomy and animal husbandry, such as the relationship between heredity, genetics and phenotype. The wide range of digital media available today reduces the need to keep a large stock of animal preparations, but individual objects from the collection are still used today in examinations or lectures.

Prepared in February 1955

Buck and ewe of the Merino meat sheep breed

The two models are exemplary for a whole series of anatomically detailed plaster models which the Farm Animal Science Collection possesses. The Merino meat sheep is a dual-purpose breed, whereby another sheep breed with a different utilisation profile has been crossed into a Merino sheep. The Merino meat sheep thus provides wool and meat and was bred in Germany towards the end of the 19th century. The two models presented here are some of the first detailed models of this then "new" breed.

The models themselves were made by the sculptor Max Landsberg, who had earned a high reputation in Europe for his very detailed and anatomically accurate animal models. The models are suitable for use in teaching animal breeding, they show a very high level of detail, for example in the depiction of the structure of the animal's wool or in the structure in the head area. In addition to the two sheep, the Farm Animal Science Collection also has other models by Max Landsberg. The majority of Max Landsberg's anatomical animal models that still exist today are at the KU Leuven (Belgium), which has about 150 animal models. These two exhibited and very detailed models were made in 1884.

Max Landsberg / 1884

Various wool samples of different quality

The wool samples presented here are a selection of the well over 100 wool samples collected in the collection. Here they are placed in the context of wool quality.

In teaching and training, these and other samples have been used to teach structuring, quality characteristics, sampling locations on the animal and breed differences in relation to different wools. Many wool samples originate from breeding and feeding experiments, in which the influence of e.g. feed on wool quality was to be investigated. Until the development of synthetic fibres, wool was a very important agricultural product and commodity, which was traded a lot in the Hanseatic League, among other places.

The quality of a wool is particularly good if it is very homogeneous in structure. This can be achieved when sheep are exposed to constant climatic conditions all year round with a low to moderate amount of precipitation. Another quality characteristic is the "crimp" of the wool, so wools of high quality show a well-developed bow-shaped course with as many bows per unit length as possible. The best way to visualise this is by the sine function, where a high quality wool is represented by the smallest possible period (e.g. sin(3x)) and the quality decreases with the increase in the length of the period, so that e.g. sin represents a lower quality wool.

Another quality characteristic is the fibre thickness, which is measured in micrometres (microns) and divided into different classes from, for example, AAA to EE. The smaller the fibre thickness, the finer and higher the quality of the wool and the more comfortable it is to wear on human skin. The wool of merino sheep reaches values of 16 - approx. 25 microns (AAA to A), sometimes even below. This contrasts, for example, with the wool of the native Heidschnucken (Lüneburg Heath), which hardly have any crimp and also show high fibre thickness and thus represent wool of coarse quality. While the quality of the wool on the left in the display window is of very high quality, the wool in the right glass container represents an example of a coarse wool quality (E/EE), it comes from a breed that is not further marked.

Demonstration model of a dairy cow with internal and external structures

This plaster model was once again made by the sculptor Max Landsberg, who was highly regarded throughout Europe for his detailed models at the end of the 19th century. The model of the dairy cow was made in 1888 and used as an anatomical model in teaching. This model is also very detailed on the outside, as can be seen, for example, in the flank area of the cow through the depiction of various muscle parts. However, the focus of this model is to combine the information about bone structure and positioning from the internal view with the corresponding features that can be perceived from the outside. This model is marked on both sides, with the exterior view marking different parts of the bovine body that are relevant for processing. Inside, different bones and skeletal areas are marked. Such models enabled students and trainees to learn structures not only from pictures but also in a 3D model.

Max Landsberg / 1888

Collection of the Department of Animal Sciences

Teaching collection containing animal skeletons, animal skulls, historical animal models, wool and fur samples, glass plate positives and measuring instruments, some of which can be dated to the beginning of the 20th century and originate primarily from field research. Until about 20 years ago, the objects were used in teaching courses, and after a necessary inspection and digitalisation, they are to be used again increasingly in teaching and research. 

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