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Permanent Exhibitions

Minerals, Fossils and Human Evolution

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The permanent exhibit "Minerals, Fossils and Human Evolution" is being updated.


In 2016 a collection from La Caixa Bank Foundation comprising of more than forty original fossil specimens and four hominid reconstructions, was incorporated to this exhibit.


Thanks to this donation and together with La Caixa Bank's social work (Obra Social), the permanent exhibit "Minerals, Fossils and Human Evolution" has been expanded and improved.



It stands to point out the following exceptional pieces: a splendid piece of Precambrian stromatolite from Bolivia, one of the oldest evidences of biological activity on Earth, awesome ammonites, trilobites, crinoids and other invertebrates, a complete fossil skeleton of a primitive bird (Confuciusornis sanctus) from the Chinese Lower Cretaceous and a primitive anapsid reptile: Captorhinus aguti (from the United States). 


Several woolly mammoth bones and two striking skeletons of cave bears from Russia (one adult and one newborn) enrich the far end of the room, where you can already find some of the most valued pieces of our Museum.


Estromatolito precámbrico de Bolivia Confuciusornis_sanctus_MNCN_CSIC
Precambrian stromatolite from Bolivia Confuciusornis sanctus from the Chinese Lower Cretaceous




¡ As of 31st of May 2016 you can visit the updated exhibit !



The exhibit begins with a journey through the history of the Earth. More than 4.5 billion years are concentrated in a tour by way of fossils from all the geological eras. The different types of fossils, the fossilization process and historical aspects are displayed. Dinosaur skeletons and large mammals are the main exhibit pieces.

The Diplodocus carnegii skeleton is a copy of the one known as "Dippy" from the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania USA). It was donated by Andrew Carnegie to King Alfonso the Thirteenth and it arrived in the museum in 1913. As in the case of the Megaterio, it remains in its original state.

The Gomphotherium angustidens is one of the most complete specimens in Europe. At the time its size was equivalent to that of a modern day Indian elephant and could reach up to 2 meters tall.

The Megatherium americanum arrived in the Royal Cabinet of Natural History more than 200 years ago from Lujan (Argentina). Apart from being the species holotype, it was the first ever anatomically mounted fossil skeleton which was studied by G. Cuvier, the father of Paleontology as a scientific discipline.

The exhibit on Human Evolution is based on the most recent research and discoveries which have changed our understanding of the origin of humans. It shows the most recent and most important replicas of human remains from all over the world such as footprints, craniums, select bones including complete skeletons.

Lucy is the most famous hominid in the world belonging to the species Australopithecus afarensis. It is 3.2 million years old and was discovered in Ethiopia. The museum displays a reproduction of this skeleton which was named after a well-known song by the Beatles.

The exhibit ends with a collection of minerals categorized according to the international classification system. It provides data regarding its use and its industrial and economic importance. The collection displays high quality beautiful pieces that date from the origins of the museum such as metals and gemstones. This allowed the collection to be considered one of the best collections in Europe during the 19th Century.

Known as the "Inca's Mirror", this magnificent double faceted polished obsidian piece arrived as a donation in 1925. At present, these kinds of mirrors are thought to belong to the old Mesoamerican cultures and to the Aztec god Tezcatlipoca as a means of communication with the spiritual world.

The crystallized Sulphur from Conil de la Frontera (Cádiz) is one of the oldest pieces in the Museum unrivaled in the world due to its perfection, beauty and the size of its crystal. It arrived in the Royal Cabinet at the request of Count Floridablanca in 1792.

The Pyromorphite from the Horcajo mines (Ciudad Real) has acicular crystals which are very difficult to find nowadays due to the closure of these mines in 1911.

The meteorite collection consists of more than 240 pieces categorized into 160 different types. It includes both complete and fragmented pieces and study sections from all over the world. It also holds a magnificent selection of meteorites that have fallen in Spain since 1773.

The Allende meteorite is a piece with priceless scientific value. It has provided information about the existing conditions during the formation of the solar system. In its composition carbon (including graphite and diamonds) as well as organic components and amino acids unknown on earth have been found.


The books of the exhibition are at your disposal in the Museum Store


Mounting the skeleton of a synapsid


Study and exhibition of a pumita of El Hierro

Ministerio de Ciencia e InnovaciónCSIC

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