Gorilla Research at the Royal College of Surgeons
Jaimie Morris, from CCCU Life Sciences, recently took part in the preliminary examination of three gorilla skeletons from the Osman Hill collection, held by The Royal College of Surgeons (RCS) of England, London.
Jaimie joined fellow members of the Gorilla Pathology Study Group (GPSG) to conduct a series of initial investigations in order to obtain material for DNA studies. The investigation also permitted the collection of tissues for histopathological investigation by Professor John Cooper and Martyn Cooke.
The investigators were assisted in no small part by Dr Sam Alberti, Director of Museums, Carina Phillips, Curator, and Martyn Cooke, Head of Conservation of the RCS, all of whom are members of the Gorilla Pathology Study Group.
'Little is known in terms of geographic location of the Osman Hill gorilla specimens. By conducting genetic studies I hope to be able to determine the original location of the specimens, by comparing them to the Powell-Cotton collection where the geographic locations are known.
'The Osman Hill specimens are particularly significant as it is unusual to find specimens with muscle tissue, ligament and tendons still present and attached. This has given me the opportunity to carry out genetic analysis, and has allowed Professor Cooper and his team the chance to perform various histological examinations.'
The investigation is ongoing and approval has just been secured for further and more invasive examinations, which will take place in the near future.
About Jaimie Morris
Jaimie is a part-time PhD student within the section of Life Sciences at CCCU. Her research is mainly focussed on the Powell-Cotton museum's extensive primate collection. By combining GIS, geometric morphometrics and genetic analysis, Jaimie hopes to build a picture of the collection and the past population of the Western lowland gorilla. Jaimie is supervised at CCCU by Dr Simon Harvey and Dr Rodrigo Vega.