Founded in 1775 by J. F. G. Goldhagen as a cabinet of natural history, the zoological collection has been continually expanded over the past 200 years by purchases, donations, international exchanges and collecting expeditions to South and Central America, the Sunda Archipelago, the Barents Sea, Central Asia and the Far East. The main collection is subdivided into several scientific collections, a teaching collection for educational purposes, and an exhibition area; the full inventory consists of 51,000 vertebrates, 2,500 other invertebrates, and more than 2 million insects.
In the exhibition area, which has been open to the public since 1890, the display follows the "zoological system" — in other words, the entire animal kingdom of our planet, from unicellular organisms to mammals, is presented in systematical sequence with the assistance of approx. 8,000 models as well as wet and dry preserved specimens.
The exhibition begins on the upper floor in front of the lecture hall with a presentation of the evolutionary tree of the Regnum Animale (animal family). The floor space of approx 500 mÂÂÂ² offers the visitors a tour through the animal kingdom as well as all continents; colored labels and distribution maps reveal the specific geographical region the given animal species occurs. The tour begins with the calcareous unicellular foraminifera of the Paleozoic period and continues through the sponges, corals, flatworms, threadworms, annelids, crabs, scorpions, spiders, snails, mussels, squids, echinoderms, fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds and onwards to the highly developed primates. The exhibition presents recent animal species still existing today as well as, in a few selected cases, fossilized (extinct) forms. But even among the recent species there are numerous forms that are very rare (Australian lungfish, paddlefish, tuatara, kiwi, stubby tail cone), endangered (Owl Parrot, Great Bustard, giant otter), or that have become extinct within the last century (such as the New Zealand Huia and the Tasmanian thylacine).
The permanent collection is complimented by periodic special exhibitions in the permanent and easily accessible corridor showcases.
© Alle Bilder ZNS, Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg
Sammlungen bei museum-digital