The collection originates from the von Schlotheim collection, which was bought by the Humboldt University in the 1830s. It comprises approximately 10,000 specimens, a proportion of which is type material.
Its most significant pieces include
- Historical collections (e.g. von Schlotheim), containing several type specimens
- Coral from the Tendaguru Expedition
- Meso-Devonian coral from the Eifel mountains
The collection is housed with the "Fossil Invertebrates“ collection (Mesozoic and Cenozoic, some Palaeozoic) and in the Devonian Hall (Palaeozoic).