In terms of number of catalogued specimens as well as systematic and geographic range the collection of Recent mammals is second in Germany after the Natural History Museum in Berlin.
Currently the modern mammal collection comprises 95,000 catalogued specimens (skulls, skins, furs, skeletons, alcohol specimens and mounted specimens). Approximately 90% of the collection is digitally registered. The collection contains 160 primary types and 480 paratypes. A catalogue of the type specimens is in preparation.
Groups best represented in the collection are bats (one of the most important collections worldwide that comprises 90% of all known genera), primates (one of the most important collections in Germany), rodents, and insectivores. The geographical focus of the collection is on Central Europe, Africa, South-East Asia, and the Balkans.
Important parts of the collection were provided by E. Rueppell (Northeast Africa), by the 2nd German Africa-Expedition in 1910/11 by Duke F. A. zu Mecklenburg (mainly artiodactyls and primates), H. Bregulla (Philippines and southwestern Pacific Islands), and H. J. Kuhn (Liberia).
Fossil Small Mammals
The collection of fossil mammals comprises more than 62,000 catalogued and digitally registered specimens, mainly teeth, skulls, and postcranial elements of Neogene small mammals such as rodents, insectivorans, bats, and lagomorphs from various European localities.
Significant parts of the fossil mammal collection are Miocene and Pliocene faunas from Germany, especially the Mayence basin, Wetterau (Hesse), and Frankfurt region. Important Pleistocene faunas were collected in Rhenish Hesse, northern Hesse, and Lower Saxony. Large material is available from the Aegean Islands (e.g., Chios and Kalymnos, Greece) and Anatolia (Turkey). The collection houses a big number of casts of type specimens from other collections. Fossil large mammals are housed in the Department of Palaeontology and Historical Geology, Section Palynology and Microvertebrata of the Palaeozoic.
Anatomy & Histology
The collection Anatomy & Histology was formerly part of the section Comparative Anatomy (later re-named Functional and Comparative Anatomy). Since the discontinuation of the section in 1997 it is now managed by the section Mammalogy.
The section library contains about 44,000 reprints and books and currently holds the most important periodicals of mammalogy and vertebrate palaeontology.