The Osteological Collection of Mainz Anthropology at the Institute for Organismic and Molecular Evolutionary Biology includes selected replicas of living and extinct primate species, including the human species Homo sapiens. A total of around 40 species of primates and closely related animal groups are currently represented, with the teaching collection focusing on skull replicas. It also includes individual total skeletons.
The objects in the teaching collection primarily represent present-day species. These represent all of the larger primate kinship groups and thus represent around 74 million years of primate evolution. Another focus is on extinct species, which are more closely related to our species in terms of tribal history. The teaching collection thus offers the opportunity to understand evolutionary trends in the course of incarnation (hominization) through comparative studies.
Based on the teaching collection, around 70 students are introduced to the reconstruction of tribal relationships every year. The corresponding courses are held as part of the B.Ed. Biology, M.Sc. Biology and M.Sc. Anthropology. Data is collected in small groups and is based on a catalog of features developed for this purpose. The computer-aided evaluation makes use of established programs. The discussion of the results promotes students' understanding of what makes up our species. As an offer for in-depth learning, students have access to a website in the Osteology collection, which provides all relevant information in words and pictures. Individual objects are also stored there as 3D animations.