Whales and dolphins (Mammalia, Cetacea) in the collections of the Museu Bocage, past and present


Hazevoet, C.J.



Secondary Title

Arquivos do Museu Bocage






Museum, Specimens, Cetaceans, Balaenoptera acutorostrata, Ziphius cavirostris, Sousa teuszii, Delphinus delphis, Tursiops truncatus, Peponocephala electra, Grampus griseus, Stenella coeruleoalba, Phocoena phocoena


During the second half of the 19th century, the zoology department of the Museu Nacional became one ofthe classical examples of its kind in Europe. Large collections were assembled from Portugal and its overseas territories, particularly those in Africa. This was largely due to the unrelenting efforts of Jose Vicente Barbosa du Bocage (1823-1907), a scholarly worker and the foremost Portuguese zoologist of his time (see ALMA< ; A, 1993). In 1905, the zoology department was named the Museu Bocage in his honour. From the 1910s onwards, with the heydays of collecting behind, the museum entered a more contemplative period. The Museu Nacional de Historia Natural was founded in 1919 and the Museu Bocage became part of it. On 18 March 1978, the most tragic of events took place when a fire destroyed most of the zoological collections. Ever since, the Museu Bocage has struggled to get on its feet again, working hard on assembling new and representative collections and presenting both permanent and temporal exhibitions for the general public. Currently, an exhibition on Cetacea and the marine environment is under construction and to commemorate that event a volume on marine mammals has recently been published (ALMA< ; A, 1998). For concise accounts on the history of the natural history collections of Lisbon, see ALMACA (1987, 1993, 1996)