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Bubo scandiacus
Common Name: Snowy Owl
Date Made/Found: before 1875
Donor: Mr Samuel Gardner , around 1817 - around 1875
Dimensions: Size when on display: 460 x 500 x 310mm
Place Object Found: Great Britain
Department: Natural History
Accession Number: B15.2.75.60
This specimen of snowy owl illustrates the difficulty curators face trying to match up old names with current ones. The curator that accessioned this specimen to the collection in 1875 recorded it's identification as Nyctea scandiaca. Some time after, scientists in America found that this species is very closely related to the horned owls, that have the scientific name Bubo. Therefore the name of the snowy owl was changed to Bubo scandiacus to reflect this.

These kinds of change occur regularly and cause a headache for curators of natural history collections. At the very least, the curator should change any display labels and database records to reflect the new accepted names. They also sometimes have to reidentify specimens, which can be a time consuming process. Fortunately, snowy owls are unmistakable for anything else, so this change didn't cause much of a problem, but with more difficult species, the resolutions can be very tricky.
Display Location: AH2

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