Vertebrates

For researchers

Naturhistorisches Museum Bern, Sammlung von Amsel Eiern
So diverse is nature: collection stock of blackbird eggs. NMBE/Schäublin

The department of vertebrates maintains and houses herpetology, mammalogy, cynology, ornithology, ichthyology and archaeozoology collections.

Herpetology

The herpetology collection contains numerous wet specimens and tissue samples of the European fauna, but also from other continents. A lot of specimens come from historical collections, especially from South East Asia and South America. Current research and collection efforts focus on the diversity, evolution and biogeography of Southeast Asian amphibians

Mammalogy

The mammal collection consists of skeletons, skulls, skins, mounts and tissue samples mainly from Africa, South America and Europe. It contains specimens from historical collections, earlier scientific projects, donations from authorities or private persons.

Cynology

The museum houses the largest scientific collection of pedigree dogs in the world, with about 2800 specimens. The oldest object is the world famous Saint Bernard dog „Barry“, that died in Bern in 1814. The collection was intensely extended already in the 19th century. The Albert-Heim Foundation for cynological research supports scientific research on dogs and the permanent extension of the collection. Donations from private persons of deceased pedigree dogs are welcome at all times.

Ornithology

The ornithological collection consists mainly of skins, mounts, skeletons, eggs and tissue samples. Geografical focuses lie on the European, in particular the Swiss, as well as the South American avifauna. Important historical material of famous ornithologists form the basis of the collection, which is still being extended nowadays.

Ichthyology

The main strength of the ichthyological collection lies in fishes of the alpine region. Together with historical specimens, the museum houses the reference collection of the "Projet Lac", a collaborative work between the museum, the Eawag, the University of Bern, the government and the cantons of Switzerland, aimed at studying and documenting the diversity of the Swiss fish fauna. Another important focus of the collection is on Southeast Asian freshwater fishes with active fieldwork and research aimed at studying the biodiversity, evolution and biogeography of this highly diverse fauna.

Archaeozoology

In collaboration with the Archaeological Service of the Canton Berne (ADB), bones originating from archaeological excavations are evaluated. In addition to a large archaeological reference collection for species identification purposes of animal remains, the museum also has a historical reference collection from the 19th century. Animal bones from prehistorical and historical settlements are important witnesses of the way of life and the environment of our ancestors.

Contact archaeozoology