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February 09, 2010

Bobo the Gorilla’s skull and jaw on view at Burke Museum

Feb. 12 - April 25, 2010

The Burke Museum is displaying Bobo the gorilla's skull and jaw in the museum lobby Feb. 12 through April 25, 2010.

Bobo, the famous Woodland Park Zoo gorilla, was much beloved by the public and lived at the Woodland Park Zoo from 1953–1968. The Burke has a long-standing arrangement with the Woodland Park Zoo to provide a home for zoo animals that have died. After Bobo died, his skeletal remains were donated to the UW and became part of the mammal collection at the Burke. Bobo's taxidermied skin is also currently on display at the Museum of History and Industry.

Bobo's skeletal remains are of value to the Burke, as a natural history museum, for many reasons. Specifically, Bobo's bones hold a valuable record of the genetic signature of wild gorillas in 1951. His DNA could be compared with gorillas of today to answer questions about changes in gorilla populations or genetics. Also, UW students have used Bobo's skeleton for decades while studying human fossils, evolution, and paleontology.

The skull and jaw complete the skeleton in the museum collection.

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