The Fossil Vertebrates Collection comprises the fossil remains of all known vertebrate groups. The collection has been systematically divided into large groups. Sub-collections have been assigned to individual curatorships and include the large groups of fossil fishes, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals. Most remains are petrifactions of bones and teeth. These can be individual bones or entire skeletons.
Fossil hair e.g. from a mammoth or fossilised footprints are much rarer. There is also a small collection of sections. All in all, there are more than 1,200,000 specimens recorded in the Fossil Vertebrates Collection. Major specimens and sub-collections include the Jurassic dinosaurs from Tendaguru, Tanzania, Pleistocene mammals from Western and Southern Germany and the Berlin area, fish from the Devonian period near Wildungen, as well as reptile and fish finds from the Solhofen Jurassic, such as the primeval bird Archaeopteryx.