The Theriology (Mammalogy) Department was established in 1917 as a division of the Department of Terrestrial Vertebrates. In 1968 it became a separate laboratory. The staff includes 19 people: 14 are researchers and 5 are technicians.
The first Director of the Zoological Museum Academician J.F. Brandt (1802-1879) was an outstanding Russian theriologist. He wrote classical works on the morphology and systematics of rodents, carnivores, whales, sirens, and ungulates. I.S. Poljakov wrote the first review of the Russian voles and described the famous Przewalski’s horse. Noteworthy are I.D. Tcherski’s pioneer investigations of Quaternary mammal remains from the Arctic zone of Eastern Siberia. Discovery of a complete mammoth cadaver at the Berezovka River in Yakutia and the expedition for its recovery and transportation to St.Petersburg in 1901 were events of universal importance. Based on the study of this finding a fundamental monograph on mammoth morphology was completed by the Museum Director Academician V.V. Zalenskii (1847-1918). Other Museum directors, Academician N.V. Nasonov (1855-1939) and A.A. Byalynicki-Birula (1864-1938) also significantly contributed to the study of different mammal taxa. Prof. B.S. Vinorgadov (1891-1958), the Head of the Department of Terrestrial Vertebrates since 1928, was the founder of St. Petersburg theriological school of thought. He was one of the leading specialists in the rodents systematics. Prof. B.S. Vinogradov supervised investigations on the systematics of carnivores, ungulates, insectivores, lagomorphs, rodents, whales, and seals carried out at the laboratory of theriology.
The Laboratory of Theriology was headed at different periods by Prof. N.K. Vereshchagin, world famous specialist in mammoth and mammoth fauna, and Prof. I.M. Gromov, a State Prize laureate, a prominent investigator of recent and fossil rodents and other small mammals.