Behind the scenes tour - spiky shell, soft core

Press release

To what's on
Bernhard Hostettler bei der Arbeit NMBE/Schäublin

Sea urchins were once at home in the Bernese Jura. When the landscape was even flatter and the sea covered large parts of Central Europe, the marine habitat offered echinoderms ideal living conditions. Fossil remains bear witness to this today, which palaeontologists like Bernhard Hostettler carefully extract to the surface.

They've been around for over 400 million years: sea urchins. The fact that the primitive animals have survived to this day is also due to their prickly appearance, which is able to protect their soft core from all kinds of attacks.

We humans remember them as a painful holiday experience or as an exotic delicacy - in the ecological system they are a central cog. Since they feed on algae, they protect coral reefs from overgrowth. The spherical animals with their hard limestone shell thus keep an entire ecosystem intact. Bernhard Hostettler would like to pass on this knowledge with his "Behind the Scenes Tour - Spiny Shell, Soft Core".

The palaeontologist and scientific assistant at the Natural History Museum Bern specialises in invertebrates from prehistory. For many years, he has been uncovering their physical remains from sedimentary rock, thus making a valuable contribution to the description and reconstruction of the past world. The fossil sea urchins, which Hostettler will present on his guided tour, come from the collection of the "Fondation Paléontologique Jurassienne" and, among others, from the Bernese Jura. This important collection was handed over to the Natural History Museum Bern last year. During the guided tour, the otherwise hidden treasures from the collection can be viewed and interesting facts can be learned about a primeval animal that is still indispensable today and was on our planet long before the dinosaurs.

Information about the guided tour

Meeting point

at the entrance

With registration

number of places limited


regular admission


approx. 1 hour

The Wednesday evening tours also include free admission to a date of your choice.