Mammology and Paleoanthropology Collection
The collection comprised about 10.000 skeletons and 3.000 skins, supplemented by 5.000 specimens stored in alcohol, rendering it one of the most important in Germany. In particular, this latter section of the collection is of importance as it comprises historical material, including organs and embryos, while the dry collection was completely destroyed in the former NatHistMus building in 1943. Using Specify about 16.000 specimens are digitalized, with next to all skins this comprises about 95% of the skeletons, 80% of the wet material, and 60% of the histological sections. The focus of the collection is on hoofed animals, African primates, and marine mammals, with post-war collections of larger mammals, represented by skulls and mostly complete post-cranial skeletons, and from taxa that are hardly retrievable today from their natural habitats. The collection comprises material derived from major expeditions to India and Angola as well as other parts of Africa in the 1950s to 1960s, e.g. from Manfred Röhrs and Henriette Oboussier, with large and complete series of bovid material.
Most recently, in 2014, the LIB took over from Günter Bräuer a most valuable and unique (paleo-)anthropological collection, that has been assembled over the last four decades. With 250 casts of fossil hominids it is certainly the largest of its kind in Germany. In addition, a collection of prehistorical anthropology and human osteology was donated, comprising 1500 specimens of medival skeletons (in 650 boxes), most valuable for morphological-anatomical comparisons.
Research in the collection focuses on functional aspects of mammal teeth and their chewing, using three-dimensional data analyses of dental surface structures that enable the study of diet and life history of (even extinct) species and to reconstruct past and present environments including influences such as of climate change.