In the context of the simultaneous exhibition “8 Objects, 8 Museums” by the Leibniz research museums, the Museum für Naturkunde Berlin presents its newly developed technology for creating images of insects: ZooSphere.
Thus, up to 7,200 photos result in a sequence of 100 to 120 individual high-resolution images, which allow the insect to be viewed as if one were studying the original.
Holotype is a term used in biological taxonomy and systematics. It concerns a selected individual that was used for the description of a species. If the description of an animal species was based on multiple individuals, these are referred to as syntypes. A specimen later identified as the name-bearing type specimen from such a series of types is known as the lectotype.
In the ZooSphere technology, a finished digitised object consists of a high-resolution, 3D spherical image sequence. At zoosphere.net, this image sequence is presented by means of a web viewer in a way that enables the viewer to rotate the digitised object in any direction, as if he were handling the prepared specimen itself. The zoom function makes it possible to view even the smallest structures.
A research infrastructure of global importance: The comparison material available in the collections facilitates the discovery of hitherto unknown species and thus the categorisation of biodiversity. The majority of insects are kept dried and pinned in approx. 35,000 wooden cases, which are stored in cabinets.
The proudly raised skull of the mounted skeleton of Tyrannosaurus rex TRISTAN is a copy. The original would have been too heavy for the installation. Instead, hundreds of photos were taken of each of the individual bones, based on which extremely exact 3D models were computed by means of photogrammetry. On the basis of these data, the 3D laboratory at the Technical University Berlin then created copies of the individual skull bones using laser sintering technology.
Scientists at the Museum für Naturkunde Berlin and the Natural History Museum of Geneva are involved in a study to determine whether tree frogs from West and Central Africa belong to separate species or whether they are conspecific, as previously assumed due to external similarities. The researchers compared the frogs’ genetic and acoustic characteristics and found out that they represent different species – a contribution to the larger question how species differentiate in a shared habitat.
Comprehensive studies were conducted on a group of Australian digger wasps. Based on pinned specimens, some of which were collected more than 150 years ago and which came from museum collections all over the world, the morphological traits of almost 1,000 animals were checked in minute detail. Previously, 23 species in this genus were known from Australia; thanks to this study, that number has now increased to 34.
“8 Objects, 8 Museums” is a collaboration project between the Leibniz research museums and the Leibniz-Institut für Wissensmedien in Tübingen in the Leibniz Year 2016.
Research project regarding ZooSphere.net of the Museum für Naturkunde Berlin
All documents and photos:
Museum für Naturkunde Berlin, Photos & Film: Antje Dittmann, Thorleif Dörfel und Michael Ohl, Johannes Frisch, Hwa Ja Götz, Valentin Henning, Heinrich Mallison, Martin Pluta, Carola Radke, Mark-Oliver Rödel, Bernhard Schurian, SatScan, ZooSphere
Text and object selection: Stephan Speicher
Museum für Naturkunde Berlin: Felix Maier, Martin Pluta, Thomas Schmid-Dankward
Transaltion: Hendrik Herlyn