Nov. 12, 2014, 7:59 p.m. – A COLLECTION of
“spineless” specimens was unveiled at the UST Main Building Lobby
Wednesday afternoon to commemorate the contributions of Fr. Casto de Elera,
O.P. to the field of natural science.

The exhibit, titled “The Spineless Collections of Fr. Casto de
Elera, O.P. – Reliving the Past,” features preserved specimens like corals,
crustaceans, worms, and mollusk shells. It was organized by the Graduate
School, the UST Museum, and the College of Science, with Rey Donne Papa, a
biology professor, as overall coordinator.

De Elera was the second director of the UST Museum of Arts
and Sciences, the oldest museum in the Philippines. He was responsible for the
systematic gathering and cataloging of the
museum’s collections, some of which date to 1682.

De Elera, born in Valladolid, Spain in 1852, arrived in the
country in 1875 and became professor of Philosophy in the University. He became
chairman of UST’s Natural History department.

His most notable work, the “Catalogo Sistematico de toda la
Fauna de Filipinas,” was considered the first systematic work on zoology in the

The “Catalogo” had three volumes, each containing scientific
names, translated names, and descriptions of more than 10,000 species. The
“Catalogo” is stored at the University of Michigan.

Many of these specimens are preserved in the UST Museum, but
only a few were exhibited due to their fragile state, according to Papa.

Science Dean John Donnie Ramos said the exhibit recognizes
the role of man as stewards of the environment.

The exhibit at the UST Main Building Lobby will be open to
the public from Nov. 13 to 21.

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