University of New England - Innovation for a Healthier Planet

The Peter J. Morgane Research Collection on the Cetacean Brain, 1962-2010

This video describes the historic scientific collection documenting research on the cetacean brain conducted by Peter J. Morgane, PhD, and colleagues. Peter Morgane conducted this ground-breaking research from 1964 to 2004.  The archive consists of detailed research on the neuroanatomy of the cetacean brain including histology on multiple Tursiops brains. The archive is available for research in the Ketchum Library Special Collections facility at UNE.

Access the full finding aid online or as a pdf.

Collection Scope and Content

This collection contains Dr. Morgane’s and collaborator’s work on the Cetacean brain. The project he led in the 1960s harvested and utilized numerous live dolphins. He conducted this unique original scientific research and experiments on those animals prior to the passage of the Marine Mammals Protection Act of 1972. Morgane and his colleagues continued to publish original scientific papers from this work through 2004. The collection contains 30 boxes of glass and film slides, thousands of photographic prints, X-rays, mounted photographic prints, photomicrographs, as well as manuscript papers, personal notebooks, Dr. Morgane’s Master’s and Doctoral theses, and hard copies of scientific papers. This collection encompasses Dr. Morgane’s extensive work on the Cetacean brain. Within the slides and their digital images can occasionally be found some images from other experiments.

Biographical/Historical Note

Dr. Peter J. Morgane was a neuroscientist who took a special interest in the neuroanatomy and function of the Cetacean brain. From 1962-2004 Dr. Morgane worked with colleagues performing experiments, analyzing and mapping the brain of the Cetacean. His aim was to create an Atlas of the Dolphin Brain. Although a complete atlas was not published, Morgane and his peers published many groundbreaking scientific papers on the various aspects and functions of the Cetacean brain. Morgane and his colleagues published groundbreaking scientific articles from 1967 to 2004 describing the neuroanatomy of the dolphin. Among many others Morgane worked with Patrick J. Hof, MD, FAAA, who holds the entire collection of dolphin brain tissue slides at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York, NY.

Contact the archivist for more information or to access the collection.

Digital Presentation

Original artwork, scientific data, and materials from a 2019 Ketchum Art Gallery exhibition of this collection are available as a digital presentation in DUNE:DigitalUNE.