Mammalogy – Mammals
The collection comprises approximately 150,000 individual specimens and over 2,000 type specimens. It is the fifth largest collection of its kind in the world. Approximately 102,000 individual specimens have been digitally recorded. Specimens that have not yet been recorded will be listed soon and made available. Approximately 35,000 specimens have been preserved in alcohol. The hides, skulls or skeletons of the remaining mammals are separately stored.
The collection was conceived with the intention to represent biodiversity in mammals all over the world. The first specimens date back to the early 18th century, including exhibits of the "Naturalienkabinett“ (Nature collection) of the Königlich Preußische Akademie der Wissenschaften (Royal Prussian Academy of Sciences) and the Königliche „Kunstkammer“ (Royal Cabinet of Art). The major part of the collection was accumulated during the late 19th and early 20th century and came to a large extent from the large, high-profile expeditions. This was also the time when the interest in geographical variation and bio-geography grew, leading to the serial collection of individual specimens.
Up to the 1920s, the description of new species and variations took centre-stage, resulting in a large number of type specimens. The important mammalogists of the period were Lichtenstein, Matschie, Nehring and Peters.
The collection also includes extinct species such as the quagga or the Tasmanian Wolf. New mammalian species were discovered in the Berlin collection right into the recent past.