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Calcutta University Zoology department celebrates centenary milestone

Kolkata: The Zoology department of Calcutta University is celebrating its centenary where seminars, workshops and interactive sessions are being held to create academic interest in students.
CU's Zoology department is the first of its kind in the country.
There was a three-day International Zoology conference (INtzoocon) at the Ramakrishna Mission Institute of Culture, with the Zoological Society in February. Scholars from the country and abroad came to attend the conference.
The department was raised by Asutosh Mookerjee, who was the Vice-Chancellor in 1917. It came to the house of Tarak Nath Palit in 1919. It may be recalled that Palit and Rash Behari Ghosh had donated their houses to Calcutta University, to carry out research in science.
JBS Halden and Patrick Gedes, who later wrote a biography of Jagadish Chandra Bose, were teachers of the department.
The department began its journey with D Mukherjee as its first student and Prof S N Moulik, eminent entomologist, as the first Professor. Subsequently, the chair was held by Prof B K Das, a noted ichthyologist (1926-31), followed by Prof H K Mukherjee, well known for his seminal contribution in comparative anatomy and developmental biology.
In the past 100 years, Professor Ray Banerjee has been the first woman to be awarded a DSc degree at CU's convocation on January 11.
But during the Centenary, the Zoology department has failed to reopen the museum, which is a part of the department.
A fire broke out at the museum on March 21, 2016, destroying some important specimens. Since then, no attempt has been made to reopen the museum.
There was a time when the museum was a part of the curriculum. There are foetuses of Dolphin, Kangaroo, Lion and Elephant in the museum. The foetus of Elephant was donated by the Maharaja of Mysore. The other items were brought by the British government and later, the state government, as a part of the exchange programme.
Due to sheer neglect, the specimens are on the verge of destruction. They have been kept in containers and since the museum was closed down, not a drop of formaldehyde was poured in the containers to save them.

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