Museum Frankfurt

Giants & Dwarves

Zwergwasserlinse - Wolffia arrhiza
Wolffia arrhiza

This temporary exhibition opened in November 1998, and was so popular that it can still be seen as a permanent exhibition. At the intersection points among mammals, plants, and reptiles, creatures were introduced, which are among the largest and smallest of their group.

Rafflesia - größte Blüte der Welt
Rafflesia arnoldii

In a series of full-scale comparisons, we find, for example, the smallest flowering plant, dwarf duckweed with a "size" of only 1 to 1.5 mm, and the largest flower in the world, the Rafflesia arnoldii (see photo).

The smallest mammals are the bumblebee bat (Craseonycteris thonglongyai) and the Etruscan shrew
(Suncus etruscus), each weighing about 2 g.


The great skeleton of the already 2,500-years-ago extinct fossil giant deer, appears tiny in proportion to the extinct, largest land mammal ever, the giant rhinoceros or Indricotheriun, about 20 tonnes in weight, and the largest existing animal, the blue whale, with up to 33 m length and weighing 190 tonnes. Giant rhinos and blue whales can be shown only in photographs or images in this "small exhibition".

Eucalyptus regnans - höchster Baum der Welt
Eucalyptus regnans -
höchster Baum der Welt


Blauwal - größtes heute lebendes Tier
Der Blauwal -
größtes heute lebendes Tier

The record for the tallest tree in the world is held by the Eucalyptus regnans, a myrtle from Australia, which was cut down in Victoria in 1872: it was 132.5 m high and had a 5.5 m trunk diameter. The largest living specimen is now only 98 meters tall.




The world record for the most massive single plant, is unquestionably held by the evergreen coastal redwood (Sequoiadendron giganteum). It reaches a height of 105 m, a 12 m trunk diameter, and an age of more than 3,000 years old. The specimen known as "General Sherman" in the Sierra Nevada (USA) is 84 m high, has a trunk diameter of 11.1 m, a volume of 1,490 m³, and weighs 1259 t, as much as about 15 adult blue whales.