Palaeontology Type collection


Laura Jane Cotton

Collection manager

Arden Bashforth

About the collection

The Palaeontology Type collection contains more than 31,000 published specimens of fossil invertebrates and plants chiefly from Denmark and Greenland. The collection is especially rich in Cretaceous,  Paleogene, Neogene and Quaternary specimens from Denmark; Paleozoic and Mesozoic specimens from the island of Bornholm in the Baltic; and cephalopod, plant and Paleozoic fossils from Greenland.

Type specimens of fossil vertebrates are stored in the Vertebrate Palaeontology collection.

Invertebrate type collection in numbers

  • Number of specimens: 31,262
  • Digitally available specimens: 0
  • Percentage digitized: 0 %


  • Collections from Denmark
  • Collections fra Greenland

Important subcollections

  • Cambrian Sirius Passet Fauna of North Greenland
  • Jurassic and Cretaceous invertebrate faunas from Greenland
  • Cambrian, Ordovician and Silurian invertebrates from Bornholm (the Baltic)
  • Paleozoic invertebrates from Greenland
  • Late Cretaceous and Paleocene floras and faunas from Denmark
  • Fossils documenting Cretaceous/Paleogene mass extinction event and transition from world-renowned localities of Stevns Klint and North Jutland
  • Extensive microfossil collections from Greenland and the Danish Basin


The Palaeontology Type collection is the national repository for scientifically described and pictured fossil invertebrates and plants from Denmark and Greenland in accordance with international rules and legislation concerning scientific type specimens.

The type collection was founded in 1902 at the Mineralogical Museum of Copenhagen by Professor Jesper P. J. Ravn (1866-1951). In the beginning, both fossil plants, invertebrates and vertebrates were included in the collection, but from 1967 vertebrate fossils were entered and registered separately in the Vertebrate Palaeontology collection.

Older specimens were registered under the abbreviation MMH for Museum Mineralogica Hafniensis or Mineralogical Museum of Copenhagen. From April 1976, specimens were registered under the abbreviation MGUH for Museum Geologica Universitas Hafniensis or Geological Museum of the University of Copenhagen. Beginning in 2017, the museum has begun re-registering and subsuming earlier specimens into a new joint collection record under the new abbreviation NHMD for the entire Natural History Museum of Denmark.

The Palaeontology Type collection has experienced a rapid expansion recently; up until the year 2000, some 22,000 specimens from 600 published scientific papers were catalogued. Since then, more than 11,000 additional specimens have been entered into the collection.

A substantial and important part of the collection derives from specimens described or referenced in scientific publications from the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland (GEUS) and its predecessors. This material is deposited at the Natural History Museum of Denmark in accordance with formal agreements between the two institutions.