Die verlorenen Arten

Christopher Kemp: Die verlorenen Arten: Große Expeditionen in die Sammlungen naturkundlicher Museen. Verlag Antje Kunstmann GmbH 2019

Well, what a book …! 

I found this little treasure in an actual bookstore, a rare event these days ….

The author has done a lot of very, very good work, he visited several museums all over the world, and almost like a journalist (but a good one), he also interviewed several scientists to gain information about their respective „obsessions“, some of them are interested in – and specialzed to a special genus of frogs only etc..

The museums all over the world still keep giant collections, some more than 100 years old,  that no one has ever seen, let alone catalogized or researched, and, due to job cuts and neglected financing, some of these hidden treasures are now literally crumbling to dust. There are some few scientists who take the challenge to research the sheer ammount of items while revising a special genus of insects or of any other animal or plant etc., and while doing so they almost always discover new species, many of which are already extinct in the localities where they were collected hundreds of years ago. 

The book shows us that many museums are treasure troves full of undiscovered biodiversity that need far more attention by the public, and tells the stories of their discoveries, from the first collection to the latest state of things. 

I can only recommend this book!


This book is also available in English: „The Lost Species: Great Expeditions in the Collections of Natural History Museums“.


edited: 27.10.2019