Paleontology collection

Curator: Yaroslav Popov.


19 216 specimens. The collection is being formed since the 1970s and comprises mainly the materials collected by famous researchers and collectors.

The first specimens were purchased by Alexander Kohts abroad in the early 20th century, such as the so-called “lithographic limestone” with imprints of aquatic arthropods from Solnhofen - the world-famous location of the Late Jurassic fauna in the German state of Bavaria. These samples are also the oldest among Darwin museum's specimens according to the time they were collected, dating back to 1876.

The collection contains extensive material from the Paleozoic deposits of the Moscow Region (stratotypes of some stages), the Leningrad Region, the central regions of European Russia, the Devonian of the Voronezh Region, the Mesozoic Era of the Moscow Region, the Volga Region, the Mangyshlak Peninsula, and the Crimean Peninsula, the Paleogene of Ukraine and Crimea, the Lower Paleozoic of the Baltic and Siberia, the Paleozoic Era and the Triassic of Siberia.

The collection contains all the major groups of the organic world, including:

  • The remains of Cyanobacteria, lycophytes, Equisetidae, the Auchenorrhyncha, Ginkgoales, Cordaitales, Coniferophyta, Angiospermae. The specimens of plants with preserved cell structure are extremely interesting.
  • Foraminifera - Fusulinida and nummulite, sponges, the annelids, Echinoidea are widely represented.
  • Archaeocyatha, Hydrozoa, jellyfish, Entomostraca, crabs, insects (including inclusions in amber), starfish, Graptolithina.
  • A great variety of corals, trilobites, Crinoids, among which the most interesting are the specimens from the coal deposits of the Moscow Region, gastropods and bivalves (Paleozoic, Mesozoic, and mainly Cenozoic), cephalopods, including rather rare Paleozoic nautilides.
  • Vertebrates are represented by a few, usually fragmented, bone remains of fish, reptiles, and mammals. The most notable are the remains of fish from the sites in Germany, the USA, and Russia, amphibians from Moravia (Czech Republic), reptiles from the Moscow region and Mongolia.
  • A small osteological collection of the mammoth fauna (bones of a woolly rhinoceros, horse, steppe bison, mammoth) formed thanks to the materials of K.K. Flerov, E.N. Mashchenko, V.V. Mitta.
  • Of particular value is the collection of aberrant whole and fragmentary tusks of a woolly mammoth, showing rare forms of growth abnormalities.
  • Some of the paleobotanical materials are of the most interest like the remains of little-known lycophytes, ferns, and Coniferophyta from the bordering deposits of the Permian and Triassic systems of the north of Siberia. Sometimes the specimens have been preserved so well that it is possible to study the cellular structure of the plant remains.

Currently, the collection is actively replenished by the efforts of the museum staff G.N. Sadovnikova, Y.A. Popova, and E.V. Mychko.

Teeth of a fossil shark (Striatolamia usakensis Glickman) from the Glickman’s collection of the fossil cartilaginous fishes, the State Darwin Museum

Ammonoid (Simbirskites sp.)

Brachiopods (Choristites sp.)