Palaeontology

Research in the paleontological department is run by seven departments. The description of numerous new insect taxa and their evolution, palaeobiogeography and palaeoecology are based on a unique and large amber collection and further collections of fossil insects. The research on fossil vertebrates and invertebrates benefits particularly from our rich Fossillagerstätten. The current focus lies on scientific excavations in the Germanic Triassic (Vellberg, Trossingen), in the Upper Jurassic of Nusplingen and in the early Miocene Randeck Maar. The recovered material of these and earlier excavations (e.g. Miocene of the Ulm area, Oligocene karstic fissure fillings, Jurassic of the Swabian Alb, Keuper of Kupferzell) as well as the finds from the Holzmaden area and other large collections facilitate research in systematics, evolution and palaeobiogeography of many fossil organisms. Focuses of research are the faunal changes within Triassic vertebrates, the marine environment of the Nusplingen lagoon and the flora and fauna of the 17 million year old lake deposits of the Randeck Maar. Structures of fossil plants yield information about the climate of past times, including the palaeoatmosphaeric CO2-content. Our biomimetic research aims at developing functional principles of plant structures for technical applications.