Museum of Osteology
ul. Nowoursynowska 159
02-776 Warsaw
Keeper: Prof. Marta Kupczyńska

The Museum has a collection of more than 1,000 bones which comes from many species of mammals, birds and reptiles living in various geographical regions of the world, as well as many bone remains from excavations carried out in Poland. The departmental staff are responsible for maintaining and supplementing the museum’s collection. The collection was amassed as a result of the work of several generations of veterinary morphologists. Many of the specimens are marked with the reference numbers of the Department of Descriptive Anatomy of the University of Warsaw, and so they date back to the 1920s. The collections can be divided into two main groups. The first consists of osteological collections from animals living today, while the second consists of excavated bone remains which come from various species that lived in the old geological ages. The most valuable consist of more than 120 complete bones of the lowland species of the European Bison (Bison bonasus bonasus) and its hybridized form, the subspecies known as the Caucasian Wisent Bison (Bison bonasus caucasicus). The bones that have been collected include two species of bison:
– the Białowieża (lowlands) subspecies – which is a direct descendant of the Białowieża bison
– Białowieża-Caucasus which consist of animals that are the offspring of the Białowieża bison which have mated with individuals of the M 100 Caucasus subspecies. The skeletons come from individuals registered in the studbooks (which have been kept since 1924), and therefore with a well-documented genealogical descent. The excavated exhibits comprise a separate group, including an exceptionally well-preserved skeleton of the head of an aurochs (Bos primigenius), the Steppe Wisent (Bison priscus), straighttusked elephant (Palaeoloxodon antiquus or Elephas antiquus), as well as other bone parts. The manner in which the collection is arranged enables the presentation of the morphological differences and similarities of individual species living in the same geographical and climatic zones, but in different environments or ecological niches. It enables observations within individual taxonomic groups, as well as interspecies, purebred and morphotypical comparisons, and also recording features which indicate the adaptation of the species to its
characteristic lifestyle.