History of the Section

The Cabinet of Comparative Anatomy and Physiology was established at the Medical Department of Moscow University in 1844. It was initially situated in a residence on the right side of Nikitskaya Str. just opposite to the old building of the Cabinet (Museum) of Natural History. Its first directors were famous Russian anatomists N.A. Varnek (1850-1870) and Ya.A. Borzenkov (1870-1883), thereafter the Cabinet took ornithologist and zoogeographer M.A. Menzbier. In the beginning of 20th century the Cabinet was transformed into the Institute and Museum under the same name. Menzbier left his official position at the Institute in 1911 because of a political scandal, and outstanding evolutionary morphologist A.N. Severtsov became its director. He moved the Institution from University to Academy of Sciences in 1930, and Prof. B.S. Matveev became head of the remained anatomical museum. The latter was absorbed by Zoological Museum in 1931 to become its Department of Phylogeny. Its heads were, subsequently, A.N. Druzhinin (1939-1941), D.N. Gofman (1941-1969), in the years of Gofman it became Division of Evolutionary Morphology and acquired a big sample of the bird embryos. After them, it was headed by a mammalogist V.A. Dolgov (1972-1978), ichthyologist E.D. Vasil'eva, and anatomist A.N. Kuznetsov; now it is heeded by A.A. Lissovsky.