Bean Life Science Museum

Monte L. Bean Museum Entrance

A stunning array of wildlife is displayed in the main gallery of BYU's Monte L. Bean Life Science Museum. But it's only the tip of the iceberg compared to what's below the surface.

When each of the 200,000 annual visitors passes through the main entrance of the Monte L. Bean Life Science Museum, the first thing they notice is the colossal African elephant in the center atrium. It is sur­rounded by stunning dis­plays of large mammals, waterfowl, and pheasants. But these displays—with more than 500 mounted specimens—are a small fraction of the vast col­lections housed in the museum.

Tips of the Iceberg
Waterfowl & Pheasant Collection Waterfowl & Pheasant Collection
(Donated by Fred and Sue Morris)

Like an iceberg, there's more below the surface than visible at the top. "For each natural history specimen displayed," said museum director Duane Smith, "there are more than 10,000 other speci­mens—a total of 2.8 mil­lion in all. Normally not open to the public, these extensive collections cre­ate numerous mentored research opportunities for a vast number of student and faculty researchers at the university. Here, they study and preserve the evolutionary history of major components of the earth's living biodiversity."

Fred & Sue  Morris
Fred & Sue Morris
Fred Morris was raised in Provo, Utah. He earned a B.S. degree from BYU and a M.S. degree in history from the University of Southern Mississippi. He built a successful real estate development business. He married Sue Elton from Mammoth, Utah. They are parents of three children. Having traveled to 150 countries, Fred and Sue are accomplished citizens of the world. They share a fervent love for wildlife and the outdoors. They donated their magnificent collection so that all who see it might enjoy, learn, and be edified.
Feathered Friends

The world's most com­plete collection of water­fowl and pheasants—330 specimens—was donated by wildlife enthusiasts Fred and Sue Morris of Salt Lake City, Utah. Of 211 known waterfowl and pheasant species, 189 are represented in the display.

The gallery features many endangered species, from the Hawaiian Duck to the Congo Peacock. All speci­mens were obtained from bird farms and live collec­tions involved in the con­servation of endangered species.

"We actually had to wait for many species to die of natural causes," said Skip Skidmore, vertebrate col­lection manager. "Eventu­ally, we hope to have all the world's waterfowl and pheasant species in the display."

Don & Barbara Cox
Don &
Barbara Cox
Donald G. Cox was raised in Detroit, Michigan. He married Bar­bara Walkowiak, also from Detroit. They have three children. He is a chemical engineer and founded Specialty Steel Treating in Michigan. Cox has been a wildlife enthusiast for nearly 60 years. His sheep collection ranges from Alaska to Iran, Nepal, and Russia. He has funded extensive scientific work to help prove the true taxonomy of the world's wild sheep. He was inducted into the Safari Club Hall of Fame and has won several prestigious awards. Collections and Numbers of Specimens Reptiles, Amphibians Fishes Mollusks Herbaria Anthropods Birds Mammals 8 BYU BioAg Magazine - Spring 2005
The Mammal Collection

Throughout the museum is a wide variety of large mammal trophies from the Don Cox Collection. It includes the most exten­sive live mounted sheep collection in the world.

But the collection includes much more than sheep. It contains more than 250 mounted specimens from four continents. Most of the African species are represented, including lion, rhinoceros, cape buf­falo, and leopard, plus the small dikers and elusive bongo. It also includes the big game species of North America including a wolf, cougar, and bears. Russia is represented by bears and the "Alf" look­ing Saiga antelope. Cox's middle-eastern Ibex col­lection is also impressive. Cox donated his magnifi­cent collection so it could be used for education and research.

Animals in the Large Mammal Collection Animals in the Large Mammal Collection Animals in the Large Mammal Collection
Large Mammal Collection (Donated by Don and Barbara Cox)
Pie Chart with Collections and Numbers of Specimens

Much of the research at the museum includes mentoring of undergrad­uates. "Each collection is overseen by a curator, who is also a BYU professor in the department of inte­grative biology," said Doug Cox, assistant director. "They incorporate knowl­edge from their research into classroom teaching and the museum's public displays." One such pro­fessor is Jack Sites, profes­sor of integrative biology and curator for 37,000 rep­tiles and amphibians.

"Undergraduate Shelly Hart is working with the Great Basin National Park on a kingsnake study," said Sites. "All relevant speci­mens in our collection must be examined, and we must borrow hun­dreds of snakes from at least five other collections. This may turn into a nice publi­cation on which Shelly would be a co-author." Stu­dents also helped catalog new speci­mens (nearly 700 new reptiles were added last year).