A museum curator waited over 80 years to share the discoveries of a remarkable moose collection

Peter Carpenter has been helping scholars understand North America’s oldest mammal for decades. Now, more than 80 years after he first amassed a collection of moose jawbones he called Moose Before Friends, new high-resolution scans from the ribs and the molars are finally revealing the fact-finding science behind the trove of treasure.

Conservators have revealed the nuanced genetic structure of Canadian moose, finds which reveal something never considered before about the creatures and their habitat.

About 10,000 high-resolution scans from the valuable bone collection, that comprises nearly a century of moose “bone mucky,” were used to analyze the bones themselves, as well as the surrounding microbial, isotopic and genetic makeup of the moose, said Carpenter, a conservator with the Ontario Museum of Natural History in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont.

Carpenter explains how he kept the intricate scientific investigation of moose jawbones a secret until now.

Leave a Comment