Invertebrate collections


The set of fossils of invertebrate animals amounts to over 200 thousand specimens: it is the largest Italian paleontological collection and one of the most important in Europe.
Hosted in about 150 wooden cabinets, it is ordered in chronostratigraphic and geographic sense, from Cambrian fossils  from various European locations, to Pliocene and Pleistocene fossils from Tuscany. It includes bivalve molluscs such as Arctica islandica, witnesses of the most recent glacial phases, Permian brachiopods from Palazzo Adriano in Sicily, hundreds of Ammonites, from the Triassic to the Cretaceous, collected inside and outside Italy - just to mention three among the many collections.
The ground-floor exhibition includes many of the most significant specimens, ordered along an imaginary timeline, from the oldest to the most recent fossils — or in the opposite order, from fossils of animals more familiar to us, such as bivalve and gastropods still living in the Mediterranean Sea, to those of a remote past, such as the Burgess Shale arthropods, from Canada, with a geological age of about 500 million years.
Fossil invertebrates are exhibited also in the 'Whale Room’, with the aim of showing the relationships between species that were part of the ecosystem of the Tuscan Pliocene sea, reaching its maximum expansion about 3 million years ago. Among them there are the remains of animals that fed on the tissues of a large whale carcass, and the traces left by "bone-eating worms" discovered in the finds of the historical collections collected in Orciano Pisano in the second half of the nineteenth century.

Heads of collections Stefano Dominici | Luca Bellucci | Andrea Savorelli

Read more about the invertebrate collections in essays divided by geological time (by Elisabetta Cioppi, Stefano Dominici, Lorenzo Rook, Paul Mazza — in order of publication), in: Monechi, S. and Rook, L. (eds), 2010, The Museum of Natural History of the University of Florence: The geological and paleontological collections, Firenze University Press (pp. 89-161). English text at the bottom of the pages.


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