Galerie de Paléontologie et d’Anatomie comparée

Open every day, except Tuesdays

Examining similarities and differences. This is the art of comparative anatomy in order to better understand the functioning of the living world... Paleontology, by deciphering fossils, invites us to go back in time! Discover the gallery dedicated to these two disciplines, a scientific, heritage and historical epicentre within the Museum.

You’re in luck! Here you’ll find some remarkable specimens, which were used to develop the very foundations of comparative anatomy. Among the specimens on display are extinct animals that are impossible to observe in the wild today. So you are in the only place where scientists are studying them.

Observe and compare

From the organisation of the skeleton, common to all vertebrates, identify the differences between the groups: fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals. How is a hedgehog's leg or a bird's wing articulated? Where are the nostrils and eyes located in a whale's skull? By comparing sizes and shapes, decipher the adaptations to living environments and how it is possible to live on land, in the air or in the water. Observe the anatomy of living organisms and how they function, revealed by a series of organs. Lungs, hearts and brains illustrate breathing, circulation and the extraordinary central nervous system.

Open your eyes wide

The spectacle is striking as soon as you cross the threshold of the gallery... Before you stretches a herd of large terrestrial and aquatic vertebrates. Admire the rorqual measuring almost 20 metres long! The Museum contains remarkable species such as the Steller's rhytine, extinct since 1768, and the marsupial wolf, extinct since 1961. Don't miss the coelacanth, Louis XIV's elephant, Louis XV's rhinoceros or the skull of Zarafa the giraffe!

Stop in front of the display cases of birds, teratology, organs of the senses or the central nervous system... On the 29 wooden panels, observe skulls, mandibles, teeth, horns, wood... The 4,300 pieces exhibited here are enough to whet your curiosity!

Survolez les relations étroites qui existent entre les vertébrés grâce à cette reconstitution 3D de la Galerie d'Anatomie comparée. Au centre, un cortège de squelettes d'animaux sauvages vous accueille. Le long des murs, des enfilades de vitrines et des panneaux de bois décorés consacrent les principaux ordres de la classification.

© MNHN - Global Digital Heritage

Go back in time

The visit continues on the palaeontology floor. No less than 2,000 fossils, including 316 complete skeletons, are on display. Sacabambaspis janvieri is 460 million years old! Explore the past from the Devonian period (370 million years ago) to the Quaternary period (10,000 years ago), from the oldest vertebrates to animals contemporary with l'Homme fossile. See a cast of a T. rex skull, Dippy, the 25-metre long diplodocus, Cynthiacetus, an ancestor of the whales...

In the balcony, more than 5,000 fossils present the different groups of invertebrates, palaeo-botany, and also the mechanisms of fossilization. Admire the traces left by insect wings, cephalopod tentacles, the petals of the first flowers, or the colour of a shrimp... Also enjoy the panoramic view.

Survolez l'histoire de la vie grâce à cette reconstitution 3D de la Galerie de Paléontologie. L'allée centrale regroupe les squelettes des plus grands spécimens de la collection : chaque pas permet de franchir plusieurs millions d'années. Les vitrines latérales retracent les principales étapes de l'évolution, des premiers vertébrés jusqu'à l'évolution des primates. Enfin, le balcon vous convie à la découverte des « invertébrés ».

© MNHN - Global Digital Heritage

A bespoke oasis

The Comparative Anatomy and Paleontology collections are housed in a superb 80-metre long building, inaugurated in 1898. The result is a building that meets the scientific, educational and museographic requirements on which Albert Gaudry, professor of palaeontology, Georges Pouchet, professor of comparative anatomy and Ferdinand Dutert, a talented architect, worked together. Cut stone and brick adorn the metal framework, bay windows and glass windows provide the necessary light, wooden floors and podiums adorn the structure, sculptures and high reliefs by artists such as Fremiet or Barrias adorn the outside of the building.

In this Art Nouveau style setting, let yourself be guided by the fascinating spectacle of the worlds of yesterday and today.

How to find us

2 rue Buffon
75005 Paris
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