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Serum Laboratory (1917-1972)

Serum Laboratory (1917-1972)

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The Serum Laboratory housed a museum from 1937 to 1965. Mark Francis, the first dean of the School of Veterinary Medicine at A&M, donated his fossil collection in 1937, creating a museum of natural history at A&M, according to A Centennial History of Texas A&M University, 1876-1976, Vol. II by Henry Dethloff. Francis was the father of veterinary science in Texas and first dean of the School of Veterinary Medicine at A&M.

The fossils – plants and animal bones – and Native American tools were mostly collected along the Brazos River and its river tributaries. Fossils from other regions were periodically donated to the museum. One unique fossil was the skull of a Synthetoceras, a prehistoric mammal that resembled a deer, but with a long forked horn on its snout. The museum’s collections expanded to include taxidermy of animal species found in the area and an Egyptian mummy.

The building was located where the Langford Architecture Center-A is now. When the museum closed, the fossil collection was transferred to the vertebrate paleontology laboratory with the Texas Natural Science Center at the University of Texas.

The mummy, Ankh-Hap, is dubbed A&M's oldest alumnus. He was put on indefinite loan with the Houston Museum of Natural Science and still resides there as part of the Hall of Ancient Egypt.

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