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10115 Berlin, Germany
|Type||Natural history museum|
The Natural History Museum (in German: Museum für Naturkunde) is a natural history museum located in Berlin, Germany. It exhibits a vast range of specimens from various segments of natural history and in such domain it is one of three major museums in Germany alongside Naturmuseum Senckenberg in Frankfurt and Museum Koenig in Bonn.
The museum houses more than 30 million zoological, paleontological, and mineralogical specimens, including more than ten thousand type specimens. It is famous for two exhibits: the largest mounted dinosaur in the world (a Giraffatitan skeleton), and a well-preserved specimen of the earliest known bird, Archaeopteryx . The museum's mineral collections date back to the Prussian Academy of Sciences of 1700. Important historic zoological specimens include those recovered by the German deep-sea Valdiva expedition (1898–99), the German Southpolar Expedition (1901–03), and the German Sunda Expedition (1929–31). Expeditions to fossil beds in Tendaguru in former Deutsch Ostafrika (today Tanzania) unearthed rich paleontological treasures. The collections are so extensive that less than 1 in 5000 specimens is exhibited, and they attract researchers from around the world. Additional exhibits include a mineral collection representing 75% of the minerals in the world, a large meteor collection, the largest piece of amber in the world; exhibits of the now-extinct quagga, huia, and tasmanian tiger, and "Bobby" the gorilla, a Berlin Zoo celebrity from the 1920s and 1930s.
In November 2018 the German government and the city of Berlin decided to expand and improve the building for more than €600 million.
The museum's name has changed several times. German speakers mainly call this museum Museum für Naturkunde since this is the term on the façade. It is also called Naturkundemuseum or even Museum für Naturkunde in Berlin so that it can be distinguished from other museums in Germany also named as Museum für Naturkunde. The museum was founded in 1810 as a part of the Berlin University, which changed its name to Humboldt University of Berlin in 1949. For much of its history, the museum was known as the "Humboldt Museum",but in 2009 it left the university to join the Leibniz Association. The current official name is Museum für Naturkunde – Leibniz-Institut für Evolutions- und Biodiversitätsforschung and the "Humboldt" name is no longer related to this museum. Furthermore: there is another Humboldt-Museum in Berlin in Tegel Palace dealing with brothers Wilhelm and Alexander von Humboldt.
The Berlin U-Bahn station Naturkundemuseum is named after the museum.
Since the museum renovation in 2007, a large hall explains biodiversity and the processes of evolution, while several rooms feature regularly changing special exhibitions.
The specimen of Giraffatitan brancaiin the central exhibit hall is the largest mounted dinosaur skeleton in the world.
It is composed of fossilized bones recovered by the German paleontologist Werner Janensch from the fossil-rich Tendaguru beds of Tanzania between 1909 and 1913. The remains are primarily from one gigantic animal, except for a few tail bones (caudal vertebrae), which belong to another animal of the same size and species.
The historical mount (until about 2005) was 12.72 m (41 ft 5 in) tall, and 22.25 m (73 ft) long. In 2007 it was remounted according to new scientific evidence, reaching a height of 13.27 m. When living, the long-tailed, long-necked herbivore probably weighed 50 t (55 tons). While the Diplodocus carnegiei mounted next to it (a copy of an original from the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh, United States) actually exceeds it in length (27 m, or 90 ft), the Berlin specimen is taller, and far more massive.
The "Berlin Specimen" of Archaeopteryx lithographica (HMN 1880), is displayed in the central exhibit hall. The dinosaur-like body with an attached tooth-filled head, wings, claws, long lizard-like tail, and the clear impression of feathers in the surrounding stone is strong evidence of the link between reptiles and birds. The Archaeopteryx is a transitional fossil; and the time of its discovery was apt: coming on the heels of Darwin's 1859 magnum opus, The Origin of Species , made it quite possibly the most famous fossil in the world.
Recovered from the German Solnhofen limestone beds in 1871, it is one of 12 Archaeopteryx to be discovered and the most complete. The first specimen, a single 150-million-year-old feather found in 1860, is also in the possession of the museum.
The MFN's collection comprises roughly 250,000 specimens of minerals, of which roughly 4,500 are on exhibit in the Hall of Minerals.
A large hall explains the principles of evolution. It was opened in 2007 after a major renovation of parts of the building.
The Museum für Naturkunde normally exhibits one of the best-preserved Tyrannosaurus skeletons ("Tristan") worldwide. Of approximately 300 bones, 170 have been preserved, which puts it in the third position among others.Tristan is currently at the Natural History Museum of Denmark.
The glass-walled Wet Collection Wing with 12.6 km of shelf space displays one million specimens preserved in an ethanol solution and held in 276,000 jars.
Minerals in the museum were originally part of the collection of instructors from the Berlin Mining Academy. The University of Berlin was founded in 1810, and acquired the first of these collections in 1814, under the aegis of the new Museum of Mineralogy. In 1857, the paleontology department was founded, and 1854 a department of petrography and general geology was added.
By 1886 the university was overflowing with collections, so design began on a new building nearby at Invalidenstraße 43, which opened as the Museum für Naturkunde (Natural History Museum) in 1889. The museum was built on the site of a former ironworks and this is reflected in two spectacular cast iron stairwells within the building.
Of particular significance is the contribution of the first director after the move to the new building. In the past the museum simply consisted of the entire collections being open to the public, but Karl Möbius instigated a clear split between a public exhibition space with a few choice specimens, together with explanations of their relevance, and the remainder of the collection held in archives for scientific study.
The collections were damaged by the Allied bombing of Berlin during World War II. The eastern wing was severely damaged, and was rebuilt only in 2011, now housing the alcohol collections (partly publicly accessible).
In 1993, after the shake-up caused by the reunification of Germany, the museum split into the three divisions: The Institutes of Mineralogy, Zoology, and Paleontology. Infighting between the institute directors led to important changes in 2006, which saw the appointment of a Director General and the replacement of the former institutes by a division into Collections, Research and Exhibitions. Since January 1, 2009 the Museum has officially separated from the Humboldt-University and became part of the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Scientific Community as the Museum für Naturkunde – Leibniz Institute for Evolutionary and Biodiversity Research at the Humboldt University, Berlin (German : Museum für Naturkunde – Leibniz-Institut für Evolutions- und Biodiversitätsforschung an der Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin). It is legally set up as a foundation.
Archaeopteryx, is a genus of bird-like dinosaurs that is transitional between non-avian feathered dinosaurs and modern birds. The name derives from the ancient Greek ἀρχαῖος (archaīos) meaning "ancient", and πτέρυξ (ptéryx), meaning "feather" or "wing". Between the late 19th century and the early 21st century, Archaeopteryx had been generally accepted by palaeontologists and popular reference books as the oldest known bird. Older potential avialans have since been identified, including Anchiornis, Xiaotingia, and Aurornis.
Kentrosaurus is a genus of stegosaurian dinosaur from the Late Jurassic of Tanzania. The type species is K. aethiopicus, named and described by German palaeontologist Edwin Hennig in 1915. Often thought to be a "primitive" member of the Stegosauria, several recent cladistic analyses find it as more derived than many other stegosaurs, and a close relative of Stegosaurus from the North American Morrison Formation within the Stegosauridae.
Giraffatitan is a genus of sauropod dinosaur that lived during the late Jurassic Period. It was originally named as an African species of Brachiosaurus (B. brancai), but this has since been changed. Giraffatitan was for many decades known as the largest dinosaur but recent discoveries of several larger dinosaurs prove otherwise; giant titanosaurians appear to have surpassed Giraffatitan in terms of sheer mass. Also, the sauropod dinosaur Sauroposeidon is estimated to be taller and possibly heavier than Giraffatitan.
Janenschia is a large herbivorous sauropod dinosaur from the Late Jurassic Tendaguru Formation of Tanzania, Africa, 155 million years ago.
The Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize is a program of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft which awards prizes “to exceptional scientists and academics for their outstanding achievements in the field of research.” It was established in 1985 and up to ten prizes are awarded annually to individuals or research groups working at a research institution in Germany or at a German research institution abroad.
The Berlin-Brandenburg capital region is one of the most prolific centers of higher education and research in the world. It is the largest concentration of universities and colleges in Germany. The city has four public research universities and 27 private, professional and technical colleges (Hochschulen), offering a wide range of disciplines. Access to the German university system is tuition free.
Tornieria is a genus of diplodocid sauropod dinosaur from Late Jurassic of Tanzania. It has a convoluted taxonomic history.
Tendaguripterus was a genus of dsungaripteroid pterodactyloid pterosaur from the Kimmeridgian-Tithonian-age Upper Jurassic Middle Saurian Beds of Tendaguru, Mtwara Region, Tanzania.
The Tendaguru Formation, or Tendaguru Beds are a highly fossiliferous formation and Lagerstätte in southeastern Tanzania. The formation represents the oldest sedimentary unit of the Mandawa Basin, overlying Neoproterozoic basement, separating by a long hiatus and unconformity. The formation reaches a total sedimentary thickness of more than 110 metres (360 ft). The formation ranges in age from the late Middle Jurassic to the early Early Cretaceous, Oxfordian to Hauterivian stages, with the base of the formation possibly extending into the Callovian.
Werner Ernst Martin Janensch was a German paleontologist and geologist.
The Museum of Evolution of Uppsala University is a natural history museum in Sweden containing the largest fossil collection in Scandinavia. The number of items in today's collection, which spans zoological, paleontological and mineralogical specimens, is approximately 5 million unique pieces, of which only a fraction are exhibited. Expeditions to China in the 20th century unearthed numerous unique paleontological treasures. The museum's collection contains three teeth of the Peking Man, found by paleontologist Otto Zdansky during an expedition to Zhoukoudian in 1921. Due to its large collection of type specimens the museum is an important establishment in the field of biological systematics, and it maintains an active exchange with other scientific institutions worldwide.
The State Museum of Natural History Stuttgart, abbreviated SMNS, is one of the two state of Baden-Württemberg's natural history museums. Together with the State Museum of Natural History Karlsruhe it is one of the most important repositories for state-owned natural history collections.
Brachiosaurus is a genus of sauropod dinosaur that lived in North America during the Late Jurassic, about 154–153 million years ago. It was first described by American paleontologist Elmer S. Riggs in 1903 from fossils found in the Colorado River valley in western Colorado, United States. Riggs named the dinosaur Brachiosaurus altithorax; the generic name is Greek for "arm lizard", in reference to its proportionately long arms, and the specific name means "deep chest". Brachiosaurus is estimated to have been between 18 and 21 meters long; weight estimates range from 28.3 to 58 metric tons. It had a disproportionately long neck, small skull, and large overall size, all of which are typical for sauropods. Atypically, Brachiosaurus had longer forelimbs than hindlimbs, which resulted in a steeply inclined trunk, and a proportionally shorter tail.
Carl Wilhelm Franz von Branca Until 1895: Wilhelm Branco; 1895-1907: Wilhelm von Branco was a German geologist and paleontologist.
Eberhard Fraas was a German scientist, geologist and paleontologist. He worked as a curator at the Stuttgarter Naturaliensammlung and discovered the dinosaurs of the Tendaguru formation in then German East Africa. The dinosaur Efraasia is named after him.
The Pylojacquesidae are a small family of hermit crabs, comprising only two species in two genera. The family was erected in 2001, after two specimens at Museum für Naturkunde at the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin were recognised as being quite distinct from other described hermit crabs. The family members differ from other hermit crabs in that their mandibles are chitinous and toothed.
Archaeopteryx fossils from the quarries of Solnhofen limestone represent the most famous and well-known fossils from this area. They are highly significant to paleontology and avian evolution in that they document the fossil record's oldest-known birds.
The Sintra Natural History Museum is a museum of natural history located in the historic center of the village of Sintra. The museum has both at national and international level due to the quality and rarity of many of its exhibits.
Ostafrikasaurus is a genus of spinosaurid theropod dinosaur known from the Jurassic of Tendaguru, southeastern Tanzania. It contains a single species, Ostafrikasaurus crassiserratus.
Dinosaurs of Tendaguru is a Tanzanian book for young readers on natural history, focussing on the discovery and subsequent excavations of dinosaur fossils at Tendaguru hill in Lindi Region of South Eastern Tanzania. It was written in the country’s official language Kiswahili by authors Cassian Magori and Charles Saanane, with illustrations by the German graphic artist Thomas Thiemeyer. This book was published in 1998 with the support of the Goethe-Institut in Dar es Salaam, the local branch of the German cultural institute, by E&D Vision Publishing, Tanzania.
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