Vertebrate Collections - an Overview

A considerable part of the collection are animals found dead by people or items from hunters, game wardens, biologists working on projects, government authorities (police, customs, etc). Those collections focus quite naturally mainly on animals from the local area, e.g. the Natural History Museum Bern (NMBE) houses skulls of 350 badgers, 90 ibex, 900 roe deer etc. These parts of the collection are mainly the result of former scientific projects and were not randomly collected.

A representative overview of the history of the vertebrate collections at the NMBE including important donators and former curators is available here:  a synopsis.

Current projects that contribute significantly to the extension of our collection are:
Here are a few numbers to give you an impression of the approx. size of the Vertebrate collections:
  • Mounted animals: 8960
  • Skins and Furs: 11870
  • Skulls: 14956
  • Skeletons: 3596
  • Fluid Specimens: 18486
More than 98% of all specimens are registered in our database.

August 2014: 64725 objects have been computerized.
Myxinoida, Petromyzontida 4 species 30 specimens
Chondrichthyes 44 species 99 specimens
Actinopterygii, Dipnoi, Actinistia 775 species 9113 specimens
Lissamphibia 435 species 5533 specimens
Testudines, Crocodylia, Lepidosauria 649 species 3259 specimens
Aves 2351 species 26953 specimens
Mammalia 811 species 19738 specimens

By geographic order:

  • Europe (without Switzerland)    7330 specimens
  • Switzerland only    28067 specimens
  • Asia    8007 specimens
  • Africa    4143 specimens
  • North America    1532 specimens
  • South America (without Brasil)    1690 specimens
  • Brazil only    5204 specimens
  • Australia and Pacific, Oceania    667 specimens
  • Unknow    7876 specimens
  • Antarctica    80 specimens
  • Atlantic Ocean    103 specimens
  • Indian Ocean    26 specimens

The use of Specimens in Molecular Based Studies
The NMBE (official abbreviation for science purposes) welcomes the opportunity to make its collections available for scientific study. To ensure that the needs of both contemporary and future users can be met the following guidelines have been drawn up. The guidelines are summerised here pdf-version.