John de Vos
Phone: +31 (0)71 568 7597
Room number: C01.08, Darwinweg 2
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There are two large collections of Pleistocene mammals available
- The Collection of mammal fossils from Indonesia, better known as the Dubois Collection;
- The Collection of Pleistocene mammal fossils from the Netherlands and the Northsea.
Both collections indicate the field of research and expertise of the curator, namely: the taxonomic, systematic, geographic, stratigraphic research of the Pleistocene mammals of the Netherlands and Southeast Asia, in relation to fossil man.
Eugene Dubois collected vertebrates at the end of the 19th century in Indonesia. The collection is world famous, because it contains the first fossils (the femur, skullcap and the molar) from Pithecanthropus erectus, nowadays Homo erectus. Besides this, Dubois collected about 40,000-mammal fossil from Sumatra and Java. As there was a discussion about their stratigraphic position, fieldwork is/was carried out in Java, Sumatra, Pakistan and Vietnam. Based on the results of those fieldwork campaigns a new biostratigraphy was developed for Java. As this collection also contains the fossils of pigmy proboscideans (elephants) from Sulawesi and Flores, fieldwork is/was carried out in Sulawesi, Flores and Philippines; all islands with unbalanced endemic island faunas. Every island has its own evolutionary history. Such faunas are also present on the islands of the Mediterranean, like Crete, Kasos, Cyprus etc. On Flores a layer with large Stegodon bones was found together with artefacts. The layer was dated 800.000 years, which indicates that Homo erectuscould cross a water-barrier.
Pleistocene mammals from the Netherlands and the North Sea
Naturalis possesses the largest collection of Pleistocene fossil mammals, like woolly rhino, woolly mammoth etc. Based on the presence of enough woolly mammoth material, a woolly mammoth skeleton was mounted for the exhibition. The above mentioned fossils are coming from suck-holes and are fished by fisherman from the bottom of the Northsea. Unfortunately their stratigraphic position is not always clear. Late Pliocene/early Pleistocene fossils are fished from the bottom of the Oosterschelde Estuary.