Venice Nat. History Museum
There are numerous zoological collections dedicated, for example, to birds, molluscs and insects (the hymenoptera collection is one of the most important in the world).
In the field of botany, the most important material is to be found in the ancient herbaria, the algarium and in the mycology collection. There is also a noteworthy group of fish and plant fossils from Bolca, Italy's most famous fossil site; dating from more than 50 million years ago, the material found here is of both great scientific interest and powerful aesthetic impact.
Nineteenth-century collections include not only one dedicated to mineralogy but also a range of prepared anatomical samples; taken from a wide variety of animals, these latter number more than 2,000 and were often prepared using secret and unknown procedures. The collection put together by the Venetian palaeontologist and ethnologist Giancarlo Ligabue includes an exceptionally well-preserved example of Ouranosaurus nigeriensis, a herbivore dinosaur of the Cretaceous period, and the remains of a giant crocodile, Sarchosuchus imperator.
The vast and delicate collection of the Museum comprises more than two million items. However, the collection also embraces sectors that lie outside the realm of natural history proper. For example, there is a precious and fascinating collection of models of boats and fishing equipment used in the Venetian lagoon. Then there are the rare ethnographical finds made by Giovanni Miani during his attempts to discover the source of the Nile, plus the large and bizarre collection of hunting trophies which was put together by Giuseppe De Reali in East Africa and the Congo in the period 1898-1929.
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