Last week I had the great fortune of a mini European road trip and being in Germany I took the opportunity of visiting the Berlin Museum Fur Naturkunde (Natural History Museum). This particular museum has been on my bucket list for one big reason – Brachiosaurus. She’s a beautiful beastie and like London’s Diplodocus (well until the recent announcement that they are replacing her with a Blue Whale), stands in the main entrance area of the museum. It’s the first time I’ve seen a dinosaur this size and according to the information board she stands at 13.5m high, and is apparently the largest mounted dinosaur skeleton in the world.
I love the fact that they’ve put the Brachiosaurus, Diplodocus and Dicraeosaurus next to each other so you get a feel for the size difference. You also have a Kentrosaurus in the central dinosaur display.
Now I’ve been using the name Brachiosaurus for this specimen, but I am aware that she differs from the American type specimen and is now referred to as Giraffatitan everywhere except the information board next to the skeleton itself. I found that rather amusing…I guess the matter is not settled afterall. Along with the Sauropod centre display there is also an Allosaurus, an Elaphrosurus (shown below) and a Dysalotosaurus.
Along with the dinosaurs you also have a wide range of fantastic fossils from the Solnhofen limestone formation, including fish, crustaceans, insects and pterosaurs.
There is a particularly fine specimen of a Rhamphorhynchus. I really like the the preservation of the wings.
The other star specimen of the museum is of course the Archaeopteryx fossil.
Sorry it’s not that good a photo, my camera was playing up at the time.
So what is there besides the dinosaurs? The museum also houses a large mineral collection that is considerably bigger than my own collection of rocks, a room for taxidermed specimens, rooms explaining the geological history of earth as well as the solar system, and what was my favourite room after the dinosaurs – the wet samples room, containing animal specimens in jars. A little morbid I know, but what did you expect I’m into dead things (and please no necrophilia jokes they’re dead boring…sorry…thus ends the family friendly session of my ramblings).
OK back to serious things. How does it compare to London’s Natural History Museum? Well it’s a lot smaller. The London museum will take the best part of a day to get around, whilst you can see everything in the Berlin one in a couple of hours. For me I felt that this was a bit of a two-edged sword. On the one hand I was a little disappointed and wanted to see more of what they had, yet on the plus side it ment that the museum wasn’t too crowded (I went on the Saturday of a school holiday, if that had been London I’d have had to queue for hours), yet in Berlin I just walked in. Another bonus to it being smaller is that what they do have on display is the really good stuff. Not that I’m saying that London doesn’t have good samples, it just means that you know in Berlin you’re getting the very best that they have to show you…like a 13.5m tall Brachiosaurs/Giraffatitan. Lets have another picture of her.
So is it worth going to? Oh yes. For a guy who’s been into dinosaurs since he was 3 most definitely, nowhere else in Europe will you see a Brachiosaurus/Giraffatitan. If you’re ever in Berlin I’d make a point to spend a coupke of hours of your trip in the museum.
I’m going to finish with one last photo of the star attraction.