It is estimated that on the Earth, there are between 4 and 40 million plant and animal species. This overwhelming variety came about through evolution in the course of geological history. Over time, many organisms vanished, leaving nothing but fossil traces. Such traces increased continuously, and some of them have been preserved to this day. However, many species have not yet been discovered, while others are threatened with extinction. The idea of a common origin of all life goes back to Charles Darwin. Many scientists developed this theory – and then just as today, researchers at the Museum für Naturkunde took part in the debate.
How do new species evolve? And how do mutation and selection work? The exhibition Evolution in Action shows selected evolutionary mechanisms that explain phenotype and behaviour of plants and animals. Such examples include conundrums: why peacocks have such beautiful feathers, but are barely able to fly with them, or why zebras have stripes.
At the entrance of the exhibition is an installation that is four metres high and twelve metres wide – the biodiversity wall where 3,000 animals from a wide range of habitats are displayed.