Permanent Exhibition "Evolution in Action"

Museum für Naturkunde Berlin

In July 2007 the new permanent exhibitions »Evolution in Action« were opened and have since been seen by 500,000 visitors every year. The new exhibitions highlight selected aspects of current scientific work of the Museum under the general theme “The Evolution of the Earth and Life on it”.

The World of Dinosaurs
The main hall of the Museum für Naturkunde is the starting point on a journey that takes visitors back 150 Million years ago.It shows life on earth in the Upper Jurassic period on land, in the water and up in the air, and thus ebables visitors to witness diversity of a whole geological period.

One of the most spectacular objects is the original specimen of the ancient bird Archaeopteryx lithographica – probably the most famous fossil of the world.

It is often called the "missing link" for Darwin's evolutionary theory as this animal showed features of reptiles (here: teeth and front claws) and birds (flight feathers and wishbone).

(See also Archaeopteryx lithographica – The Berlin specimen.)

An especially ‘eye-catching‘ highlight is the world´s largest mounted dinosaurskeleton, Brachiosarus brancai. With its height of 13.27m (43½ ft.) it is even featured in the Guiness Book of Records.

(See also the Virtual Reality movie on Brachiosaurus / Giraffatitan)

System Earth

Stromalotites similar to this one from Wernigerode, Germany, have been around for 3.5 billion years and are evidence of early oxygen generation.

Exhibit of Przewalski's horse and the earliest known horse. The evolution of the horse is closely linked to climate change and the evolution of grass (see also Horses, Gras, and Climate).

Mountains arise from the collision of tectonic plates.The crust of the Earth buckles and folds over millions of years, and large masses of rock are piled on top of each other.

Change does not only happen in the slow process of evolution, but also by sudden impacts such as the Impact of the Chicxulub Asteroid about 65 Million years ago that caused one of the largest mass extinctions in Earth's history. Dinosaurs were the most notorious victims of this mass extinction.

Evolution in Action
The exhibition Evolution in action shows selected evolutionary mechanisms that help explain the appearance, behaviour and diversity of animals and plants.

In order to investigate evolution, a thorough knowledge of species is required. 1.8 million species have been described - only a small fraction of what actually lives and used to live on our planet.

Is the peacocks cumbersome plumage contradictory to Darwin's theory of natural selection?

The Quagga, Equus quagga quagga, is an extinct variety of the Plains zebra Equus quagga.

Can the black-and-white pattern really be an effective means of camouflage? Yes, as it does not primarily protect the zebra from large predators, but very small carriers of disease: the tsetse fly (see also The Zebra's Stripes).

The Wet Collections

The museums East Wing used to be one of the last World War 2 ruins in Berlin. The gap has only been closed in 2010. Today, the East Wing is one of the most modern collection facility worldwide.

The combination of original fragments and modern concrete plates to show, where a bomb once left a great gap, has been awarded with a number of renowned architectural prizes.

Inside, the East Wing houses more than 1 million zoological collection items preserved in alcohol in optimal climatic conditions.

A special glance into our research collection: visitors can view inside our fish and reptile collection.

The second floor shows parts of our reptile collection, here mostly snakes.

The ground floor is "home" to the fish collection and a couple of very large glasses that are too heavy for the top shelves.

Credits: Story

Photos: All photos are @ Museum für Naturkunde Berlin
Photographers: Hwa Ja Götz, Carola Radke, Antje Dittmann (Museum für Naturkunde Berlin)

Exhibition concept and design: Dr. Ferdinand Damaschun, Uwe Moldrzyk, Benedikt Esch (Museum für Naturkunde Berlin), ART+COM AG


Credits: All media
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