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Fossil arthropods and the amber collection


More than 90,000 specimens make up the systematic collection of fossil arthropods and the adjoined amber collection of the Museum für Naturkunde.

The arthropod phylum comprises classes as diverse as Chelicerata, crabs (Crustacea) and insects. Trilobites alone, a marine group of the Palaeozoic, make up a large part of the collection, approximately 5,000 specimens. Other Palaeozoic arthropods from Scotland, the Rhenish Massif and the Hunsrück shale. Fossil insects and crabs from the Jurassic, found at Solnhofen (collection Schlotheim, collection Redenbacher) and Grimmen (collection Ansorge) are also part of the collection, and a collection of insects and other arthropods from the Brazilian Crato formation are also worth mentioning.

The amber collection at the Museum für Naturkunde comprises approximately 37,000 - 43,000 inclusions and over 1,500 types of fossil arthropods in Baltic and Saxonian amber.  


All 3,000 type specimens and other items have been included in the Access database of the Museum für Naturkunde, which is internally available.


Xenusion auerswaldae

The entirely conserved holotype of Xenusion auerswaldae was found in the Cambrian drift in 1927. The animal lived in the Lower Cambrian and was the first animal with legs. The fossil in the collection of the Museum für Naturkunde is one of two known specimens and is considered to be the connecting link between lobopods and arthropods.

Xenusion auerswaldae

Inclusion of a detached oak floret (Quercus emanuelii, Fagaceae), Bitterfeld amber

Einschluss Eichenblüte (Quercus emanuelii, Fagaceae), Bitterfelder Bernstein.

Pollen cone of the cypress family (Chamaecyparis caspary, Cupressaceae), Baltic amber, Künow Collection

Pollenzapfen, Zypressengewächses (Chamaecyparis casparyi, Cupressaceae), Baltischer Bernstein, Sammlung Künow.

Twig fragment of the cypress family (Cupressaceae), Baltic amber, Künow Collection

Zweigfragment eines Zypressengewächses (Cupressaceae), Baltischer Bernstein, Sammlung Künow.