BERLIN: The Palaeontological Collections of the Museum für Naturkunde Berlin

  • Christian Neumann
  • Stephan Schultka
  • Florian WitzmannEmail author
Part of the Natural History Collections book series (NHC)


The palaeontological collections of the Museum für Naturkunde Berlin contain more than 2.5 million specimens and are divided into three main sections: fossil invertebrates, fossil vertebrates, and palaeobotany. The collections have their origin in the Royal Mineral Cabinet of the eighteenth century that was transferred to the Mineralogical Museum of the newly founded University of Berlin (the later Humboldt University) in 1812. The rapidly growing collections moved into the newly constructed museum building under the new name Museum für Naturkunde in 1888/1889. In the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, the collections expanded further through intense collecting activities in the field, among them the famous Tendaguru expedition (1909–1913) that yielded a wealth of Late Jurassic dinosaur specimens like Giraffatitan and Dicraeosaurus that are on display in the museum’s world-renowned dinosaur hall. During World War II, most of the figurd material was brought to Rüdersdorf near Berlin. In spite of the immense war damage to the museum building, a surprisingly small part of the fossil collection that remained in the museum was destroyed. The Museum für Naturkunde was separated from the Humboldt University in 2009 and transferred to the Leibniz Gemeinschaft. Scientists of the museum focus their collection-based research on fundamental issues in earth and life sciences, especially on evolution, biodiversity, palaeoclimate, and palaeoenvironment. The collections are open to international research, and numerous scientists from all over the world work with the collections every year.


Invertebrate palaeontology Leibniz Gemeinschaft Museum für Naturkunde Berlin (MfN) Palaeobotany Palaeontological collections Vertebrate palaeontology 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christian Neumann
    • 1
  • Stephan Schultka
    • 1
  • Florian Witzmann
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Museum für NaturkundeLeibniz Institute for Evolution and Biodiversity ScienceBerlinGermany

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