The newly constructed Darwin Centre was built to house
the museums wet collection; that is, animal specimens
preserved in “spirit” (a fragrant and highly
flammable blend of 95% ethanol and 5% methanol).
New arrivals join the collection all the time, where
they mingle with more historic guests, including lizards
collected by Charles
Darwin, sea bass collected by Captain Cook in Australia
on his Endeavour voyage, and specimens dating
back to the 16th century. The largest specimens (such
as sharks) dont reside in jars; theyre in
enormous metal tanks housed in the buildings basement.