Fossil Vertebrates

Natural History Museum Vienna

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Electronic database / Collection

Short Description

500.000 objects are available in the fossil vertebrate collection of the NHMW.
The NHMW houses some hundreds of thousands of fossil bones and teeth of extinct mammals. Their collecting dates back to the 19th century and lasts up to nowadays. The fossil mammal collection is dominated by fossils from the Miocene and Pleistocene from Austria and other European countries. Visiting researchers from all around the world regularly access this collection to study the famous mammalian faunas e.g. from Kohfidisch (Austria), Devínska Nová Ves (Slovakia), Samos, Pikermi (both Greece), and Maragheh (Iran). Also, the collection of fossil primates from several Miocene European sites is regularly considered for investigations by international scientists. Another important part of the collection is that of the Pleistocene large mammals. One of the largest collections of cave bears is stored at the NHMW, as well as some worth seeing large mammals from South America. Of special scientific importance is the collection of about 30.000 small mammal teeth from Paleogene and Miocene localities of Austria and Mongolia.
The paleornithological collection comprises about 1500 remains of fossil birds from the Paleogene, Neogene and Pleistocene of Austria and other European countries. Of special scientific importance are the rich historic collections of fossil Moa skeletons from New Zealand and of elephant birds from Madagascar.
The collection of fossil amphibians from the Carboniferous of Nýřany (Czechia) at the NHMW enjoys an international reputation. Also, scientifically important are the Triassic fossils of terrestrial reptiles from the Karroo Formation in South Africa.
The majority of the 13.000 remains of fossil fish comes from Paleogene and Miocene deposits in Austria and other European countries. It comprises the extraordinary collection of the world-famous Eocene site of Monte Bolca in Italy, of Miocene fish fossils from historic brick clay pits in the city if Vienna, or from the quarry St. Margarethen (Burgenland, Austria).

Contact Person

Ursula B. Göhlich

Research Services

Reference specimens for research.
Fossil identification upon request.
High resolution photographs upon request.
Production of casts and replicas upon request.

Discovery V20 Stereomikroscope
JCM-5000 NeoScope SEM
Yxlon FF35 CT

Methods & Expertise for Research Infrastructure

The staff of the Geological-Paleontological Department has taxonomic expertise for identification and scientific description of fossil organisms. A focus is the paleobiogeographic and paleoecological interpretation and the dating of deposits based on their fossils (biostratigraphy).
In addition, the staff members of the Geological-Paleontological Department provide sound knowledge in collection and data management.

Allocation to Core Facility

Geological-Paleontological Collection

Ursula B. Göhlich
Geologisch-Paläontologische Abteilung
+43 1 52177-257
Access to the collections upon request.
Pia J. & Sickenberg, O. (1934). Katalog der in den Österreichischen Sammlungen befindlichen Säugetierreste des Jungtertiärs Österreichs und der Randgebiete. - Denkschriften den Naturhistorischen Museums Wien 4, Geologisch-Paläontologische Reihe 4: 544 S. - Leipzig und Wien (Verlag Deuticke)

Schultz, O. (2013). Catalogus Fossilium Austriae, Band 3: Pisces. Wien (Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften).

Daxner-Höck, G., & Höck, E. (2015). Catalogus Fossilium Austriae, Band 4: Rodentia Neogenica: Ein Systematisches Verzeichnis aller auf österreichischem Gebiet festgestellten Fossilien. Wien (Verlag der österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften).